This cancer medication is used to treat HER-2+ breast cancers. HER-2 stands for human epidermal growth factor receptor-2, and is overexpressed in roughly 1 out of 5 breast cancers.
Trastuzumab can also be used to treat HER-2+ gastric cancers. A gastric cancer that is HER-2+ positive overexpresses the HER-2+ tyrosine kinase receptor, and is more responsive to trastuzumab.
Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody against HER-2. This drug binds to cancer cells, and this binding leads to antibody mediated (complement mediated) killing of the HER-2 positive cancer cells.
One of the mechanisms of Trastuzumab's effects on cancer is that it inhibits HER-2-initiated cellular signaling. It is proposed that tumor cells arise from unchecked signaling and proliferation, and this drug works to decrease signalling amongst tumor cells.
Trastuzumab binding to cancer cells leads to antibody mediated (complement mediated) killing of the HER-2 positive cells.
One of the more serious complications of this medication is cardiotoxicity. Patients may develop congestive heart failure and other possible cardiomyopathies.
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