Breast Cancer Treatments

keytruda breast cancer treatments

() is a drug found to potentially be effective in the treatment of certain kinds of breast cancer. is an immune checkpoint inhibitor, which is an immunotherapy. Immunotherapy medications use the immune system to attack cancer cells.

Most immunotherapies use either a naturally made (in your body) substance or a man-made (in a lab) substance to boost the immune system. This not only helps stop or slow cancer cells from growing, but may also stop cancer cells from spreading around the body and kill cancer cells altogether.

Breast Cancer Treatments

Immune checkpoints are the specialized proteins that keep healthy cells and tissues safe when the immune system is attacking, say, a cancer cell. Immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as , will target the immune checkpoints and help the immune system recognize cancer cells so it can properly attack them.

As of yet, there are no immune checkpoint inhibitors that have been approved for treating breast cancer. However, a study showed may have potential to treat breast cancer. Normally, is used to treat advanced-stage skin cancer, some lung cancers, and various other cancers.

The study found that when was combined with Herceptin, the combination may be beneficial to patients with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer. In the study, these patients have high levels of tumour lymphocytes that have stopped responding to Herceptin alone.

The study was made up of two clinical trials in their early phases. One trial was checking to see if combining with Herceptin was safe. The other trial was testing how effective this combination was. More research will need to be done, but the results were promising.

Because none of the patients in the study had to reduce their dose of or stop taking it altogether due to side effects, the combination was deemed safe. Several of the tested patients responded well to the treatment, some of whom even had a complete response (meaning no cancer could be detected). There were some patients, however, who had no response at all.

With more research, more can be discovered about ‘s effects on breast cancer.

Featured image: Syda_Productions via DepositPhotos

Posted on May 9, 2018