A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found the risk of heart damage from Herceptin, a breast-cancer drug, almost can be eliminated if it is combined with a different chemotherapy medicine.
Herceptin generally is administered with the adriamycin, a well-known chemotherapy drug that can elevate the risk of heart problems. The study said if Herceptin is combined with carboplatin, the heart risk drops “five fold.”
Dr. Dennis Slamon, of the University of California at Los Angeles, co-discovered Herceptin years ago and started combining it with carboplatin, frequently used in patients with ovarian cancer.
There is one drawback, the New England Journal of Medicine said. When Herceptin was combined with carboplatin in the study, there were more recurrences of breast cancer, although they were “not statistically significant,” the study found.
More than 3,200 women were monitored by researchers for five years.