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Does Herceptin Cause Hair Loss

Herceptin For Metastatic Breast Cancer

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Herceptin is FDA-approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic means the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. Metastatic breast cancer is also called stage 4 breast cancer.

Effectiveness for metastatic breast cancer

A study of women with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer compared chemotherapy alone to chemotherapy plus Herceptin. Those who took Herceptin had better outcomes than those who did not take Herceptin, including slower progression of their breast cancer.

Financial And Insurance Assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Herceptin, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Genentech Inc., the manufacturer of Herceptin, offers a program called Herceptin Access Solutions. For more information and to find out if youre eligible for support, call 866-422-2377 or visit the program website.

Does Herceptin Cause Hair Loss

Yes, its possible that Herceptin or Herceptin Hylecta can cause hair loss. How often this occurs in clinical studies varies, but in one study, up to 63% of people who took Herceptin or Herceptin Hylecta reported hair loss. However, many of the studies include other cancer treatments that can cause hair loss. This makes it hard to know if Herceptin or Herceptin Hylecta use caused the hair loss.

Talk with your doctor if youre concerned about how the medications youre taking may affect your hair.

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Side Effects And Risks

Herceptin and Kadcyla have some similar side effects and others that differ. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain examples of mild side effects that can occur with Herceptin or with both Herceptin and Kadcyla .

  • Can occur with Herceptin when used to treat breast cancer:
  • hot flashes

boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration .

** Herceptin has a boxed warningfor this side effect. For more information, see the FDA warnings section at the beginning of this article.

*** Both Herceptin and Kadcyla have boxed warnings for this side effect.

What Are The Most Serious Side Effects Of Perjeta

Do periods resume after chemotherapy

PERJETA may cause heart problems, including those without symptoms and those with symptoms .

Receiving PERJETA during pregnancy can result in the death of an unborn baby and birth defects.

Other possible serious and sometimes fatal side effects of PERJETA therapy include:

  • Infusion-related reactions
  • Severe allergic reactions

The most common side effects of PERJETA when given with Herceptin and docetaxel for treatment of breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body are diarrhea, hair loss, low levels of white blood cells with or without fever, nausea, feeling tired, rash, and damage to the nerves .

Side effects may vary based on chemotherapy regimen.

Talk to your doctor about any side effects you experience. Here are some tips you can try.

Remember, the tips mentioned below may not work for everyone. Be sure to talk with your doctor or other healthcare provider before trying any of these tips.

Select side effects associated with PERJETA + Herceptin + docetaxel during metastatic breast cancer treatment


When you have diarrhea, it means you have loose or watery bowel movements that happen 3 or more times in a day.

Some tips you can try:

  • Choose nutritious foods, rather than foods that are greasy, fatty, or spicy
  • Eat small, frequent meals of foods that are easy to digest, such as rice, applesauce, and canned fruit
  • Drink plenty of clear, noncarbonated fluids
  • Eat foods high in potassium, such as bananas or potatoes, or drink sports drinks

Hair loss

Feeling tired

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Will I Need To Use This Drug Long Term

Herceptin may be used as a long-term treatment. When used as adjuvant treatment of breast cancer , Herceptin is typically used for 1 year. When used to treat metastatic breast or gastric cancer, Herceptin is typically taken until your cancer worsens . Your doctor will determine how long you should take Herceptin.

Emotional Side Effects Of Temporary Hair Loss

Patients can take steps to alleviate emotional side effects from chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Cutting long hair prior to starting chemo can make hair loss seem less dramatic. A wig, scarf or other head covering can also ease the difficult transition and protect the patients scalp. Its important to remember that new hair regrowth will likely look quite different after chemotherapy ends. Thats because hair color and texture can change dramatically following cancer treatment with chemo drugs. For many patients, believing in eventual hair regrowth after treatment is an important part of the healing cycle. It signals the end of a traumatic time and instills hope at the opportunity to start life over again. A long-term adverse reaction like permanent alopecia, however, can have significant emotional side effects.

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How Does Herceptin Work

Herceptin is the brand name of the targeted cancer drug trastuzumab.

Its a biologic drug used to treat cancers that have large amounts of the protein HER2 . These HER2-positive cancers include:

  • early breast cancer
  • metastatic breast cancer
  • metastatic gastric cancer

The HER2 protein in some breast and gastric cancers makes the cancer cells grow and divide. Herceptin attaches to the HER2 receptors on the surface of the cancer cells, which blocks the cells from receiving growth signals. As a result, growth is slowed or stopped.

Herceptin is administered intravenously . It takes around 90 minutes to administer the first dose of Herceptin and around 30 to 90 minutes for all other doses.

Are There Lab Tests To Check For Side Effects Caused By Herceptin

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Yes, your doctor may order lab tests, such as blood and urine tests, to check for certain side effects during your Herceptin treatment.

These side effects can include:

Learn more about some of the side effects that Herceptin may cause.

Boxed warnings

boxed warnings . A boxed warning is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration .

Heart problems. Herceptin use can cause heart problems, including heart failure, high blood pressure, and arrhythmia . Receiving Herceptin with medications called anthracyclines can increase this risk. Examples of anthracyclines include doxorubicin and daunorubicin .

Lung problems. Herceptin can cause serious lung problems, but this is rare. The problems may include shortness of breath, fluid buildup in your lungs, and lung inflammation called interstitial pneumonitis. These lung problems are sometimes related to how Herceptin is given.

Symptoms of the serious lung problems can include shortness of breath, cough, and chest pain or tightness.

Infusion reaction. Herceptin is given as an IV infusion, which is an injection thats slowly dripped into your vein over time. Its possible to have a reaction to the infusion. The reactions can include symptoms such as low blood pressure and angioedema .

In rare cases, anaphylaxis can occur. This is a life-threatening allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

What you can do

Heres some information about managing the boxed warnings of Herceptin mentioned above.

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Re: Herceptin And Hair Loss/ Slow Growth

Hi – I completed Herceptin with Chemo in August 2017 and finally Herceptin injections in June 2018. My hair slowly started to grow back whilst I was on the second lot of chemo and contined more so after chemo. Herceptin didn’t stop my hair from growing back but did make it slower. Even now although my hair is really thick and grows long at the sides and front the length at the back doesn’t seem to grow as fast as it did before treatment started…. I would add, that although I’m delighted my hair grew back – I’m moaning about it daily just as I did before this whole dreaded disease entered my life! Wearing a wig was, in some ways, so much easier…!

Evidence Of Passive Avoidance Memory Test

3.2.1. Atorvastatin Rescued Cognitive Impairment during Trastuzumab Therapy

To examine the effect of ATV on TZB-induced memory impairment, mice underwent a passive avoidance memory test . The schedule of administration of TZB and ATV was the same as that for PET imaging shown in A. Twenty-four hours after the training sessions, memory function was not affected upon administration of ATV alone, but TZB exhibited significant memory impairment . ATV co-administration significantly extended the mean time of step-through latency compared with that achieved by single TZB administration .

3.2.2. Evidence of IL-6, IL-1, and TNF- Levels

C shows the results pertaining to the levels of the cytokines IL-6, IL-1, and TNF-. Because PET imaging showed significant changes in the cerebral glucose metabolism of the frontal lobe with administration of TZB or ATV, we examined the extent of inflammation by measuring pro-inflammatory markers in the frontal cortex. The mRNA expressions IL-6, IL-1, and TNF- were assessed 14 days after TZB administration. TZB caused a significant increase in IL-6 and IL-1 levels, which were down-regulated by ATV treatment . TNF-. expression was decreased with the administration of ATV alone and with co-administration compared with the control level . We also observed significant alteration of Iba1 , which is a marker of microglial activation representing neuro-inflammation as well.

3.2.3. Atorvastatin Has No Abnormal Hair Regrowth Side Effect

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Why Does Chemotherapy Cause Hair Loss

The reason chemotherapy can cause hair loss is that it targets all rapidly dividing cells healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Hair follicles, the structures in the skin from which hair grows, include some of the fastest-growing cells in the body. If you’re not in cancer treatment, cells in your hair follicles divide every 23 to 72 hours. But as chemotherapy does its work against cancer cells, it also damages hair follicle cells. Within a few weeks of starting certain chemotherapy medicines, you may lose some or all of your hair. The hair loss can happen gradually or fairly quickly.

Wait On The Wig Especially Since It’s Summer

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I have a wig that I wore exactly one day. I hated it. I kept thinking it was creeping down my forehead. I didn’t like the itchiness. I didn’t think it looked like me. And I can’t even imagine how hot it would be — my one day was in the middle of winter. I went instead to scarves and hats — headcovers.com has a lot of really cute, fairly inexpensive hats designed to come lower on the head than conventional hats, so they really cover where the hair should be. Dangling earrings are great with both hats and scarves. And with bald, too.

Don’t spend money on a wig, unless you know you want one and want to get an expensive one. If you really want one, the American Cancer Society and other organizations will give you an inexpensive model. ACS even has a catalog. You can order the style and color you want. My hospital has an ACS social worker who handled everything.

Good luck!

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For Early Breast Cancer

If you have an earlier stage of breast cancer, your treatment may be Herceptin alone or Herceptin combined with chemotherapy. Herceptin can be administered before or after chemotherapy. It can also be administered before or after surgery.Treatment often lasts 6 months to 1 year.

When its used as the sole treatment for early breast cancer, Herceptin is administered every 3 weeks. When its used alongside chemotherapy, the drug is administered weekly for the first 12 or 18 weeks. Afterward, its administered every 3 weeks.

Pregnancy And Breastfeeding While Receiving Herceptin

Heres some information about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and Herceptin.


Herceptin should not be used while pregnant and for at least 7 months after the last dose of the drug. Be sure to use birth control during this time. Herceptin may harm a fetus, and this could include pregnancy loss. In fact, Herceptin has a boxed warning about this risk. This is a serious warning from the FDA.

If you can become pregnant, your doctor will have you take a pregnancy test before you start receiving Herceptin. This is to make sure youre not pregnant when you start treatment.

The manufacturer of Herceptin, Genentech, has a pregnancy monitoring program to gather information on the use of the drug during pregnancy. If you become pregnant during your Herceptin treatment or within 7 months of your last dose, consider calling Genentech at 888-835-2555.

If youre pregnant or planning a pregnancy, talk with your doctor. They can suggest treatments other than Herceptin.


Its not known whether its safe to breastfeed while youre being treated with Herceptin. Its also not known whether the drug is present in human breast milk.

If youre breastfeeding or thinking about it, talk with your doctor. They can review the risks and benefits of Herceptin treatment and advise you on healthy feeding options for your child.

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Measurement Of Tumor Growth After Co

Cell Viability Assay, Cell Lysate Analysis, and Tumor Growth Delay

Cell viability was measured at an emission wavelength of 590 nm using a microplate reader. We examined whether ATV and/or TZB affects NCI-N87 cell proliferation following treatment by counting cells. Various concentrations of ATV and of TZB were used. Next, cytotoxicity resulting from the poly polymerase 1 and Bcl-2, which are a unique characteristic of apoptotic cell death, was proven by immunoblotting cell lysates using Anti-Bcl-2 antibody and Anti-PARP1 antibody .

When the tumor volume in NCI-N87-bearing mice was 200 ± 20 mm2, the mice were randomly divided into five groups . Each group was treated with TZB or TZB plus ATV . The tumor size was measured using a digital caliper, and the tumor volume was calculated three times a week, according to the following formula: width2× length × 0.4.

Why Chemo Causes Hair Loss


Hair loss is very common during chemotherapy for breast cancer as well as other cancers, though some drugs and methods of administration are more likely than others to disrupt hair follicles.

Chemotherapy drugs work systemically by interfering with the division and growth of rapidly growing cells.

While these drugs can be effective in eliminating cancer cells, they also damage normal cells that divide rapidly. This includes hair follicles , cells in the digestive tract , and cells in bone marrow .

The keratinocytes in the hair follicle divide faster than many malignant cells, and they have a good blood supply that delivers chemotherapy agents to them efficiently. Their fast metabolism also puts them under oxidative stress, which a chemotherapy drug can enhance to the point that the cell dies.

Whether or not you develop hair loss, and the degree to which you do if so, depends on a number of factors including:

  • The dose of chemotherapy: Higher doses generally have a greater risk for hair loss.
  • How often the chemotherapy is given: More frequent doses carry more risk.
  • The route of administration: Intravenous drugs are more likely to cause hair loss than oral drugs.
  • The drugs or combination of drugs you receive: Some are more likely to cause hair loss than others, and receiving a combination of drugs increases the risk.
  • Your individual makeup: Some people are more likely to lose hair than others, even with the same doses of the same drugs.

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