Herceptin and chest pains

Hi All,
Wondering if anyone else has had chest pain immediately after Herceptin infusion. I have had no problems with herceptin until my 5th dose on Friday. Infusion went well but towards the end of the saline infusion I had a few twinges in my throat. I then left the hospital and had some quite unpleasant chest pains while waiting for the train. I’m hoping this was a one off as I really don’t want to be taken off this drug. Anyone have something similar happen?


Hi Maire, sorry you are having issues with herceptin.
May I ask over how long you are having your herceptin? It is usually over 90 minutes, but once did they give it to me over 30 minutes. Never again. I ended up in A&E with sharp pain. If you are not better now, you need to phone your oncology department and let them know tomorrow so they can organise an heart echo.
If you need to stop herceptin, ask your onc about the new one which is given subcutaneoulsy and from what I have read, does not affect the heart.
take care

what is the name of the alternative treatment that you refer to? Is it already widely available?
thanks. Jude

Vercors-Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately I didn’t really keeop an eye on the timing of the infusion but it did seem quite quick. The sharp pains have gone but I do feel a bit uncomfortable in that area- Really hard to know if it’s heart or stomach now though.

It is not widely available yet. I am seeing my onc onTuesday and will be asking him.
This NICE document explains more.
Maire, they used to always give it over 90 minutes but recently started a 30 minutes infusion, however the protocol says that they have to keep you under observation for 90 minutes.
When I had it ovr 30 minutes, it was when I had a second drug administered immediately after, so all in all I was there for the full 90 minutes.
I am now getting my infusion at home and the nurse HAS to give it over 90 minutes.
When is your next heart echo due?

Thanks Vercors,
very interesting. I am looking at having the majority of mine at home too, so pleased to hear that the nurse will work to the ninety minute delivery. Jude

I had my 6th herceptin on Thursday. 30 minute infusion. But I then have to wait around 90 mins. They let me go walk about to the cafe. Just have to go back and say that I’m ok 90 mins later.
Had heart scan result this week, it was down to 40. They said that 39 was the cut off where it would be stopped.
I have pains in my chest, but am putting it doesn’t to my mastectomy 3 weeks ago. Been told to go straight to A&E if I suspect heart problems, shortness of breath, swollen ankles.

Thanks for the advice. It does say on my notes ‘observe for 2 hours after infusion’ but that doesn’t seem to happen. I could have gone back to the hospital to report my chest pains but I would’ve felt such a pest.My most recent heart scan acutally showed an improvement. I’ve no other signs of problems so will keep my fingers crossed that this was a one off.

Just found out I have to see onc before they’ll give me more herceptin. Going to see her tomorrow. Keeping everything crossed that they don’t stop treatment!

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Herceptin infusion contains the active ingredient trastuzumab, which is a type of medicine called a humanised monoclonal antibody. It is used to treat breast and stomach cancer.
Trastuzumab is used to treat breast and stomach tumours that have large amounts of a unique protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 protein (HER2) on the surface of the cancer cells. HER2 is present in excessive amounts on the surface of some cancer cells. Its presence stimulates the growth of these cancer cells.
Breast cancer that has large amounts of HER2 on its cells is known as HER2-positive breast cancer. This type of breast cancer is particularly aggressive. It accounts for approximately 20 to 30 per cent of women with breast cancer and demands special and immediate attention because the tumours are fast-growing and there is a higher likelihood of relapse.