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Answer to your Health Question

Question (02/15/2012):

Title: HER+, breast cancer and Exemestane .

My sister completed surgery for early-stage HER+ breast cancer.

What are the benefits of switching to Exemestane after 2-3yrs?

Answer:

HER2 refers to a gene that helps cells grow, divide, and repair themselves. When cells have too many copies of this gene, cells -- including cancer cells -- grow faster.

Experts think that women with HER2-positive breast cancer have a more aggressive disease and a higher risk of recurrence than those who do not have this type.

Exemestane is used to treat early breast cancer in women who have experienced menopause and who have already been treated with a medication called tamoxifen for 2 to 3 years.

Exemestane is in a class of medications called aromatase inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of estrogen produced by the body. This can slow or stop the growth of some breast tumors that need estrogen to grow.

Immunologic side effects of Exemestane including grade 3 or 4 lymphocytopenia (20% of patients in clinical trials for advanced breast cancer) and infection have been reported.

Oncologic side effects of Exemestane reported from animal studies have included an increased incidence of hepatocellular adenomas and/or carcinomas as well as an increased incidence of renal tubular adenomas.

Exemestane has also been clastogenic in human lymphocytes in vitro without metabolic activation.

Exemestane may decrease bone mineral density and increase the chance of osteoporosis.


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