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Old 05-31-2003, 08:12 AM   #1
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Many of you have seen the May 29 2003 article cited below. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2002 and is HER-2 positive (+3). The study suggests that women with stage IV metastatic breast cancer have a higher incidence of central nervous system cancer progression. The study appears significantly flawed for several reasons. First the study develops its results by comparing HER-2 positive advanced metastatic breast patients to the general population of all advanced metastatic breast cancer patients (i.e. many non-HER-2 positive women). Only 25 to 30 percent of women with breast cancer are HER-2 positive so the study appears to be comparing apples to oranges. The study results simply confirm what we already know -- that HER-2 positive breast cancer is more aggressive than non-HER-2 positive breast cancer.
Second " we know that Herceptin can not pass through the so-called ""brain-blood barrier"" due to the size of the herceptin molecule. If Herceptin can not get to the brain" it is unlikely that it can prevent brain cancer in the brain. Finally Herceptin is clearly extending the survival of many women with advanced HER-2 positive metastatic breast cancer. It appears that the longer survival time simply places these women at risk for CNS cancer while the remainder of the body keeps cancer in check. Based upon my research the findings of this study are highly suspect and most likely flawed.
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