They found that 89.4 per cent of those given Herceptin for six months were cancer-free four years later, compared with 89.8 per cent of those who took it for 12 months.
A new trial of patients suffering from HER2-positive breast cancer found survival rates were nearly identical among those given six months of therapy compared with a year.
Treating patients with breast cancer early in the disease for six months with Roche's Herceptin gives the same results as the current one-year regimen, researchers who conducted a large clinical trial said. According to the article, benefits of shorter treatment would be reduced costs and fewer adverse effects, such as less damage to the heart.
In addition, four percent of women in the six-month group discontinued treatment because of heart problems, compared with eight percent of the 12-month group.
"We are confident that this will mark the first steps towards a reduction in treatment duration for many women with HER2-positive breast cancer", said Dr. Helena Earl, the study's lead investigator and professor of clinical cancer medicine at the University of Cambridge.