The art of prescribing trastuzumab for HER2-positive breast cancer

  • Kim Outhoff University of Pretoria
Keywords: Her-2 positive breast cancer, trastuzumab, patient eligibility, tolerability, dosing regimens, resistance


The human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is overexpressed in HER2-positive breast cancer. This confers characteristics associated with an overall poor prognosis, with early metastases to major visceral sites and a relative resistance to chemotherapy. Trastuzumab is a humanised monoclonal therapeutic antibody that specifically targets HER2 receptor overexpressing breast cancer cells, inhibiting their growth and proliferation, and inducing their regression. It is licensed for metastatic and early HER2-positive breast cancer, determined by slidebased testing techniques. Trastuzumab dosing regimens are aimed at increasing its efficacy, while minimising its potentially undesirable effects which include cardiotoxicity and the development of resistance.

Author Biography

Kim Outhoff, University of Pretoria


Senior Lecturer

Department of Pharmacology

University of Pretoria

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