HER2 Positive Cancer

HER2 Positive Cancer

What is HER2?

HER2 stands for Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2. HER2 is a protein on the surface of all normal cells in your body. HER2 helps regulate the way cells grow and divide into other cells.

HER2-positive breast cancer is an aggressive form of cancer

When too much HER2 is expressed on the outside of some of your cells, these cells become abnormal. The abnormal cells start multiplying rapidly and producing more abnormal cells. This group of abnormal cells is termed a tumour. Cancers with too many copies of the HER2 gene or too many HER2 receptors tend to grow quickly and are thought to be more aggressive.

Response to standard treatments

Studies show that HER2-positive cancer cells may not be as responsive to standard breast cancer treatments. Also, cancer that is HER2-positive is more likely to return soon after treatment.

Patients with HER2-positive breast cancer are more likely to:

  • Have cancer that spreads to other parts of the body early in the disease
  • Respond poorly to standard therapies
  • Have a higher risk of cancer recurring after initial therapy
  • Have a reduced chance of survival
  • Respond well to Herceptin therapy which specifically targets HER2 proteins

It is important to know your HER2 status