Dr. Chap discusses the negative side effects associated with biologic therapy for breast cancer treatment.
There’s fairly little downside in terms of the biologic therapies, and in terms of biologic therapies there are the antibody therapies, such as Herceptin, which hones into that abnormality that’s present in approximately 20% of patients, but these targeted therapies aren’t yet completely without side effects. For example, the Herceptin has a small risk of it affecting the heart muscle.
Another drug that’s being used more frequently now in patients that have advanced breast cancer where it is spread to other areas is a drug called Avastin, or bevacizumab and that, as I mentioned earlier, is a drug that hones in on the blood vessels that are supplying nutrition to the growth of the cancer.
And paradoxically, this drug can cause a few side effects, one of which is bleeding complications, the other being blood clots. So, although relatively safe and good therapies, one has to be very cognizant that these therapies aren’t completely without side effects.
About Dr. Linnea Chap, M.D.:
Linnea Chap, M.D., is a medical oncologist with an interest in breast cancer treatment. She has been published multiple times and has led several breast and ovarian cancer treatment protocols, including the pioneering use of novel biologic agents such as Herceptin and Avastin. In 2001, Dr. Chap was named, one of “America’s Top Breast Cancer Doctors” by Redbook. Annually, she has also been listed as one of “America’s Top Doctors for Cancer,” published by Michael Connelly. Recognized for her teaching and speaking skills, Dr. Chap has a national reputation where she is frequently called on to speak on the most recent advances in breast cancer treatment.
Visit Dr. Chap at Saint John's Health Center