Experts seek to optimise treatment of metastatic HER2 positive breast cancer in Vietnam

August 22, 2021 | 16:37
K Hospital and Roche Vietnam on August 21 held a scientific conference to discuss ways to optimise treatment strategy for patients with metastatic human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive breast cancer in Vietnam.
Experts seek to optimise treatment of metastatic HER2 positive breast cancer in Vietnam
Experts at the scientific conference on August 21 to discuss about optimisation of treatment strategy for patients with metastatic human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive breast cancer in Vietnam

In the conference, leading Vietnamese and international oncology experts have provided an update on the current state of affairs as well as improvements in the treatment of HER2 positive (HER2+) breast cancer in Vietnam.

Prof. Sung Bae Kim, Director of Breast Cancer Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan, College of Medicine said, “TDM-1 is the first antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) with a unique mechanism that helps to improve the treatment effect and significantly reduce side effects. Clinical studies have shown that this conjugate is highly effective and continues to improve the patient’s survivability and quality of life with acceptable safety. In addition, it has proved to be effective in patients with brain metastasis.”

Based on Professor Kim's clinical experience, the efficacy and tolerability of TDM-1 in South Korean patients also strengthen other results from the pivotal clinical studies. Along with the dual-drug therapy, the use of TDM-1 in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer with overexpression of HER2 has gone a step further towards the goal of transforming metastatic breast cancer into a chronic disease.

According to Dr. Hoang Thi Mai Hien, Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital, patients with metastatic breast cancer must often go through many steps of treatment. In Vietnam, there is a full range of anti-HER2 drugs for the first-line treatment of HER2+ metastatic breast cancer. TDM-1 is an option for second-line treatment. TDM-1 significantly extends the life of patients with cancer progression-free. The fact that TDM-1 is officially approved and recommended for the later steps of treatment will help Vietnamese oncologists have more options to save the patients with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer.

The members of the advisory board of the conference, including leading medical oncology specialists across the country, also agreed that doctors should determine from the very beginning the optimal treatment strategy for HER2+ metastatic breast cancer, which is first-line treatment with dual anti-HER2+ medicine therapy and second-line treatment with TDM-1 so that patients can get the highest survivability possible.

Girish Mulye, general director of Roche Pharma Vietnam, emphasised, “As a pioneer in the pharmaceuticals and diagnostic equipment field globally, Roche always aspires to change the lives of patients for the better. Therefore, we constantly focus on scientific research to bring breakthrough treatment solutions. The successful research and development of TDM-1 to put in the treatment regimen for metastatic breast cancer with HER2+ is a significant contribution to women's health worldwide as well as in Vietnam.”

“This is also part of the company's long-term commitment to public health in improving quality of life, reducing complications and mortality caused by cancer in general and breast cancer in particular,” he added.

In Vietnam, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women with over 21,000 new cases recorded each year. A global cancer report in 2020 of Globocan showed that in Vietnam, breast cancer is accounting for 25.8 per cent of the new cases in women every year. Overall, it also ranks third among the most common types of cancer across both genders, after liver cancer and lung cancer.

Regarding the diagnosis and treatment work, statistics of the health sector in Vietnam showed that around 5-10 years ago, the rate of cancer patients detected at the late stages was over 70 per cent. At the moment, that rate has decreased due to increasing awareness in the community. However, late treatment is still quite challenging because the metastasis has reached multiple organs, leading to a grim prognosis and making it difficult to increase the success rate of treatment for patients

According to statistics, more than 20 per cent of breast cancer patients in Vietnam have overexpression of HER2. To improve and extend the patients' life, the first-line treatment for metastatic breast cancer in Vietnam has kept up with the advanced regimens in the world. The treatment, based on dual anti-HER2 medicine therapy has significantly improved the survivability of patients.

However, finding the direction for the next treatment after the first-line therapy fails is still challenging in Vietnam because we do not have standard treatment drugs that are approved and recommended by international treatment guidelines. In addition, there are differences in the patient's physical condition, expectations and feelings compared to the first-line treatment.

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By Bich Thuy

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