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Why does my friends doctor have her on Herceptin when she is triple neg?

Posts: 137
Joined: May 2010

HI everyone.  I just got a xmas letter from a friend and she is saying that she is triple neg, but the doc has her doing Herceptin to "try to kill as many cancer cells as possible".  WTH?  Has anyone every heard of this?  Why go through Herceptin treatment when triple neg?  I'm worried this doc might be a quack of some sort.  Want to get some feed back before I say something to her.



Posts: 124
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Jennifer

I think the Herceptin is because one is HER2 positive, I may be wrong, but please don't say anything to your friend until you know for sure.

TN is not treated with Als or Tamoxifen, as they work on the er positive cancer, so her doc. is right on that one.

Wishing you and your friend the best


Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

Unfortunately, I don't think we can answer your question. You need to discuss this with your friend, have her ask her oncologist why he has her on Herceptin if she is triple negative.

I agree, that this doesn't make any sense.


camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

where they are actually doing trials to see if herceptin works on her2-, and from what I read they were getting some positive results. I know from experience, if there is not a good reason, most.insurancesnwill not pay for herceptin without a good reason, or without her being positive.

Posts: 137
Joined: May 2010

Thanks for the info.  I'm just so worried because she is not a young woman and Im worried about her heart.

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010


Trastuzumab for Women with HER2-Low Breast Cancer

Name of the Trial

Phase III Randomized Study of Adjuvant Chemotherapy with versus without Trastuzumab in Women with Node-Positive or High-Risk Node-Negative HER2-Low Invasive Breast Cancer (NSABP-B-47). See the protocol summary.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Louis Fehrenbacher, National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP).


I didn't know this Carol.  Thanks for posting.  I believe that I am still to low if this is ever tried in a trial for women with mets whose tumor was Her2-.



CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

Interesting Jennifer because, after 26 years, I was just told my mets was Her2 +.  My onc thinks it may have been Her2+ all along, but, back in 1987, they didn't test for it.  When I had my bone biopsy in 2009, it came back Her2 neg.  He said it is not unusual for bone to test Her2 neg when the tumor is really positive.

Frankly, I don't know what to believe as each biopsy has given me different results: 1st one ER+, PR +, Her2 unknown; 2nd ER+, PR neg, Her2 neg; 3rd ER neg PR neg Her2 +.  Crazy, huh?  Her2 is usually aggressive without treatment, so I am not sure I truly buy the tumor being Her2 + all along.  I think my tumor has morphed, but who knows?

Maybe it will turn out worthwhile to throw herceptin in the mix?

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