19 January 2022

Dr Kotryna Temcinaite, Senior Research Communications Manager Breast Cancer Now, said:

“Every year 55,000 UK women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Growth of some breast cancers is stimulated by higher than normal levels of the HER2 protein, these cancers are called HER2 positive. Measuring if breast cancer is HER2 positive or negative is important to guide treatment decisions for people diagnosed with this devastating disease, however in some circumstances getting this information can take a little time.

“At Breast Cancer Now, we welcome developments in any area which could benefit people affected by breast cancer. Developing new methods to quickly and accurately establish the HER2 status of breast cancer would be a significant breakthrough, giving people diagnosed the best possible chance of their treatment being successful.

“Anyone looking for support and information about breast cancer can speak to Breast Cancer Now’s expert nurses by calling our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000.”

About HER2-low:

"If we look more closely at breast cancers that are currently classed as HER2 negative, some could be called HER2 low. While HER2-low is not currently defined as a type of breast cancer in its own right, it is starting to be considered as a subtype and estimations suggest that around half of breast cancer cases may qualify as HER2-low.

"Breast cancer cases can be confirmed as being HER2-low through a series of two tests - the same ones used to establish if breast cancer is HER2 positive or negative. Identifying if breast cancer is HER2 low is currently only done in laboratory research or in some clinical trials.

"The benefit of targeting the HER2 proteins in treatment of breast cancer that is HER2-low has not been confirmed in clinical trials yet. However, some promising early data from laboratory research suggests some newer targeted drugs developed to treat HER2 positive breast cancer could also be used to treat people with HER2-low breast cancers."

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