—Herceptin? —Dear All,
I am a bit confused about the pros and cons of an Her2 diagnosis.

I began my “patient journey” in April 01 and have had extensive treatments and complications…however I now seem to be stable.
I had a check up with my consultant recently and was told for the first time that my tumour was Her2 positive!
Can anyone tell me what the implications of this are? (I was so surprised as I thought I knew all the ins and outs of my situation that I forgot to ask any questions at the time.)

I take femara now having been moved off tamoxifen after my hysterectomy, if that helps. (I had an hysterectomy and oopherectomy as well as double mastectomy, chemo and radiotherapy.)

Anyones thoughts would be welcome.
Joyce 2cats

Latest news is good Congratulations on being almost five years out. From what I have heard, aromatase inhibitors are believed to be better than tamoxifen for this, so here’s hoping that the cancer is gone for good.

Of course, being so far out you won’t get preventative herceptin, but it is at least available for secondaries.

The lastest news is that being hormone responsive and her2+ is much better than being hormone independent:

An abstract from the European Journal of Cancer Supplements Volume 4, No. 2, March 2006, page 164 noted “breast cancer with HER2/neu over-expression is a heterogeneous disease, with HER2+, HR positive tumors, having a distinct and favorable biological nature compared with HER2+, HR negative tumors.”

Take care,


On second thought I’m sorry, I think I missed something. Did you have a recurrence?

—her2 AND HERCEPTIN —I do beg to differ with Christine, who is an expert on Herceptin, but perhaps not on HER2 status.
I recently had a private consultation with my Oncologist to ascertain my HER2 status - it was not done when I was dx in 2003. My status is HER2- and both he and my surgeon that I saw two weeks ago for my annual check up said that HER2- is a better prognosis than HER2+. I am ER+, which is also a better prognosis indicator.Unfortunately I don’t know my PR status because it was not done, but my Oncologist said if you are ER+ then the PR doesn’t matter.
I am sure different Oncologists have different views, but just wanted let you know what my doctors said.

Darn those similar abbreviations Hi Lizzie,

Of course, being her2- is generally better than being her2+, however, among her2+ it seems like having a hormone receptor positive cancer is generally much more favourable, even if the cancer does come back. I was a bit surprised at how strongly worded the abstract was, which is why I put it in.

Now, I know that the situation is complex: on HERA for some reason for women with four plus nodes the recurrence rate was the same for hormone receptive and hormone independent cancers. However, this latest study shows that even if they develop secondaries HER2+++, HR+ (not her2+++) patients do much, much better than us HER2+++, HR- types.

The reason I wanted to point out the good side is that someone who is a five-year survivor will not be able to get herceptin unless they recur, which some people might find really frustrating. So I just wanted to point out what this article said, to point out the good side.

Expert on herceptin? Well no, but thanks for the compliment.

A suggestion I’m certainly no expert on Herceptin as I don’t even know my own HER2 status, but I wonder whether one of the reasons that patients who are both HR and HER2 positive do better than those who are HR negative and HER2 positive is that there are simply so many more treatments they can be offered. HR- patients have only Herceptin and chemo, whilst HR+ have an ever-widening range of hormonal therapies as well.


European Journal and HER2 status Christine
Would appreciate knowing where and how you access the journal from which you’ve quoted.