Breast cancer treatment in Switzerland: Swissmedic approves new targeted therapy
- 04 November
- Diagnosis & Treatment
Patients with HER2-positive tumors can now receive new targeted neo-adjuvant breast cancer therapy in Switzerland, according to the Hirslanden Klinik experts.
Shortly after the introducing of innovative treatment regimen in Europe, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic) approved it for local patients.
According to statistics, 1 out of 5 breast cancer cases are HER2-positive tumors. The so-called HER2 receptors, which stimulate growth, are most active in these tumor cells. These receptors make cancer extremely aggressive: it grows quickly, and relapses occur more often.
According to Nick Hauser, clinical director of the Brust Zentrum Hirslanden Aarau & Cham Zug, HER2-positive breast cancer has traditionally been considered a disease with a poor prognosis.
With the development of biological therapy, an aggressive tumor become much better treatable, and the average survival rate is now almost as high as that of hormone-sensitive tumors.
Rapid progress is made possible by novel monoclonal antibodies.
Targeted therapy for breast cancer: new benefits and risksIn the fight against HER2-positive breast cancer, Swiss oncologists use two antibodies that complement each other. They bind the HER2 receptor in distant places, blocking it in completely different ways. The first drug stops the growth of cells, and the second antibody prevents the binding of other receptors and the transmission of growth signals.
In addition, both drugs “label” malignant cells, so the immune system can easily recognize and destroy them. Dr. Hauser says that the approval of the first antibody (trastuzumab) was "one of the greatest advances" in breast cancer treatment in Switzerland. The introduction of a second drug by Swiss doctors multiplies our clinical opportunities.
A new targeted therapy with two antibodies is approved along with chemo for metastatic breast cancer in order to improve the quality of life and slow the disease progression.
The experience of using similar drugs in the rest of European Union was very successful.
In neoadjuvant treatment, two antibodies are used in combination with cytostatic agents:
• to reduce the size of the tumor before resection
• to increase the surgery success chance
• to achieve complete remission
According to Dr. Hauser, the new regimen works very well. If patients respond to therapy, antibodies will be given throughout the year.
Of course, there are unpleasant side effects. Both drugs can damage the heart, but studies show that serious complications are extremely rare. For safety reasons, Hirslanden Klinik recommends careful monitoring of cardiac function, because a sick heart requires cessation of therapy. Despite the advantages, neoadjuvant targeted therapy is not suitable for every patient.
Swiss cancer surgeons say that some women are not psychologically ready to tolerate long-term medication treatment – they require a tumor to be cut out as soon as possible. An alternative is an adjuvant monoclonal antibody therapy, which begins after surgery.
The goal is to kill the remaining cells after resection, reducing the risk of cancer recurrence. So far, only trastuzumab has been used for adjuvant therapy, but new research can expanded this list.
Breast cancer treatment in Switzerland: Breast Center Aarau Cham ZugBrust Zentrum Aarau Cham Zug is located in the town of Cham on the picturesque Lake Zug. It is an internationally recognized center for the diagnosis and treatment of breast diseases, where the latest technologies and protocols are used. In addition to first-class medical services, patients can rest after surgery healing their body and mind at a local resort.
There you can meet leading experts from the Hirslanden Aarau Klinik and AndreasKlinik Cham Zug. They offer a full range of services in medical oncology, minimally invasive cancer surgery, radiation therapy and breast plastic surgery for women of any age. Interdisciplinary cooperation and an individual approach form the basis of success.
Doctors regularly discuss the results of the examination, choosing the further tactics together.
The Breast Center Aarau Cham Zug was certified by the Swiss Cancer League (Krebsliga Schweiz) and the Swiss Society of Senology (Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Senologie).
Minimally invasive surgery (vacuum biopsy) is widely used here. Neoplasms up to 2 centimeters in diameter are successfully removed using a thin biopsy needle under ultrasound guidance, without the need for painful surgery. With no scars!
Chemotherapy is received on an outpatient basis at the Tumor Zentrum Aarau. Radiotherapy is provided by the Institut für Radiotherapie Aarau, where the most advanced equipment for high-precision irradiation with preservation of surrounding tissues is available.
Among the breast cancer treatment options in Switzerland:
• Minimally invasive surgery
• Biopsy of the sentinel lymph node
• Breast removal (mastectomy)
• Breast reduction / augmentation
• Reconstructive surgery
• Radiation therapy
Brustzentrum Aarau Cham Zug patients can get a second opinion from experienced doctors at Onko-Hämatologische Zentrum Zug). If you are looking for a premium class breast cancer treatment in Switzerland, this is definitely one of the best places.