With this research they obtained first place in the IV Research Poster Contest organized by the University of Guadalajara
Every year around 2 million cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the world, making it the second leading cause of death in women. In Mexico it is the leading cause of cancer death in females over 25 years old; approximately 10 die a day. On the other hand, 90 percent of cases are detected in stage III and IV.
The HER-2 gene makes proteins with the same name, which control how a healthy breast cell grows, divides, and repairs itself. Breast cancer cells with higher than normal HER-2 levels are called HER-2 positive. This type of cancer tends to grow and spread faster than others and is more aggressive, but is more likely to respond to drugs that target the HER-2 protein.
To analyze the expression of the HER-2 gene in the proliferation of breast cancer in patients treated with trastuzumab (a monoclonal antibody that inserts into the HER-2 protein and blocks the growth of malignant cells), University of the BUAP School of Medicine used a system for measuring, scoring and monitoring solid tumors called RECIST -for its acronym in English-, to observe the reduction or increase in tumor size, as well as the appearance of new ones.
With the results obtained, the researchers concluded that the use of monoclonal antibodies, as therapy in patients with expression of the HER-2 gene, reduces cancer cells and increases the response to treatment. That is, it reduces mortality and increases the quality of life of the patient.
The students Rafael Figueroa García and Aída Yolanda Pérez Córdova Fernández, the resident doctor Karen Mayte Sánchez Matus, and María Elena Cárdenas Perea, an academic from the Faculty of Medicine participate in this research. In addition, the oncologists from the Puebla University Hospital (HUP) Luis Alfonso Adel Álvarez and José Luis Gutiérrez Herrera.
Researchers reviewed the records of 30 patients from the HUP Department of Medical Oncology and conducted a database; likewise, they used descriptive statistics for qualitative and quantitative variables.
The patients studied have an age range of 40 to 89 years. The most affected were those aged 60 to 69 years -47 percent. Most of the patients were diagnosed in stage 3: 63% with ductal carcinoma and 37% with lobular carcinoma.
Only 50 percent of patients have the HER-2 gene positive. Of the 15 with this gene, seven used it as adjuvant therapy, after a breast recession; seven more as neoadjuvant therapy and only one as palliative therapy. 54 percent of patients have monoclonal antibody therapy: trastuzumab and pertuzumab; while 46 percent therapy together with chemotherapy with receptors against progesterone and estrogens.
Of the HER-2 positive patients, 40 percent have a complete response to the therapy used, 47 percent have a partial response, and 13 percent have a progression to the disease according to the RECIST criteria.
With these results, it was concluded that the use of monoclonal antibodies, as therapy in patients with expression of the HER-2 gene, decreases mortality and increases the quality of life of the patient.
With this research, the university students of the Faculty of Medicine obtained first place in the Health table of the IV Research Poster Contest, held in 2021 by the North University Center of the University of Guadalajara. The purpose of this contest is to promote research in undergraduate and graduate students.