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Brand name: Herceptin

Chemical name: Trastuzumab

Class: HER2 (human epidermal receptor 2) inhibitor targeted therapy. Herzuma, Kanjinti, Margenza, Nerlynx, Ogivri, Ontruzant, Perjeta, Phesgo, Trazimera, and Tykerb are other HER2 inhibitors.

How it works: HER2 inhibitors work against HER2-positive breast cancers by blocking the ability of the cancer cells to receive chemical signals that tell the cells to grow.

Uses: Herceptin typically is used to:

  • treat metastatic, HER2-positive breast cancer
  • reduce the risk of early-stage, HER2-positive disease coming back after surgery and other treatments as part of a regimen with chemotherapy medicines
  • shrink large, advanced-stage, HER2-positive cancers before surgery

How it's given: Herceptin is given intravenously.

Additional information: Herceptin and Perjeta block the HER2 protein on the surface of breast cancer cells. Perjeta targets a different area on the HER2 receptor than Herceptin does, so it’s believed to work in a way that is complementary to Herceptin. Tykerb blocks the HER2 protein inside the cell. Nerlynx is used to treat early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer for an extended period of time after surgery. Herzuma, Ogiviri, Ontruzant, and Trazimera are biosimiliars to Herceptin.

Side effects:

Read more about Herceptin.

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