Trastuzumab (Herceptin), a chemotherapy drug that's used to treat certain types of cancer, including HER2-positive breast cancer, is known to carry a risk for heart damage. Results of a small study presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s EuroEcho-Imaging 2018 suggest the beta-blocker carvedilol (Coreg), taken with trastuzumab, can help reduce this risk. Carvedilol is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
This study, conducted by researchers from Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran, involved 71 patients with non-metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer who were randomly designated to receive trastuzumab with or without carvedilol. The researchers used an imaging technique to assess function of the heart’s left ventricle at the start of treatment and at three months. They found that heart function was better in study participants taking carvedilol with trastuzumab compared to those taking trastuzumab alone.
According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Maryam Moshkani Farahani, her practice now advises patients with non-metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer taking trastuzumab to take prophylactic carvedilol as well. However, more research is needed.
Sourced from: European Society of Cardiology