More patients can benefit from highly effective breast cancer drugs that are already available, according to DNA sequencing studies by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and other institutions.
The investigators found that some women with the HER2 negative subtype may benefit from anti-HER2 drugs even though standard tests don't indicate they are candidates for the drugs.
"These patients are going to be missed by our routine testing for HER2 positive breast cancer," says Ron Bose, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine. "Currently they're not going to receive a HER2 targeted drug because we don't have a way to identify them. And we predict they are going to have a more aggressive form of breast cancer."
The top image shows untreated breast cancer cells with HER2 mutations. The bottom image shows how much these cells shrink after treatment with neratinib, an anti-HER2 drug currently in clinical trials.