ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A local breast surgeon welcomes the Food & Drug Administration’s quick approval of a new type of breast cancer treatment.

The new drug, called Perjeta, is designed to shrink breast cancer tumors before surgery in the 20 percent of women with tumors fueled by the HER2 positive protein.

Dr. Theresa Schwartz is a breast surgeon at Saint Louis University Hospital.

“What they’re hoping to do is in patients with HER2 positive breast cancer, using this medication before the operation, to hopefully do as much tumor damage as they can before the breast cancer actually is excised,” Schwartz explained.

The drug will shrink some tumors now considered inoperable so that surgeons can more effectively treat them.

“[Researchers] were able to see more people getting a complete pathologic response, meaning whenever they cut the cancer out there was no cancer left in more patients who were on this medication compared to those who weren’t,” Schwartz explained. “So it seems like it does a better job of killing the cancer before the operation than our standard therapies do.”

Schwartz says this treatment also could allow more women to conserve a diseased breast rather than remove it.


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