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HER2 overexpression and paclitaxel sensitivity in breast cancer: therapeutic implications.

Overexpression by the HER2 gene plays a significant role in breast cancer pathogenesis, and the phenomenon is commonly regarded as a predictor of a poor prognosis. HER2 overexpression has been linked to sensitivity and/or resistance to hormone therapy and chemotherapeutic regimens, including CMF (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluoruracil) and anthracyclines. Studies of patients with advanced disease demonstrate that, despite the association of HER2 overexpression with poor prognosis, the odds of HER2-positive patients responding clinically to taxanes were greater than three times those of HER2-negative patients. Further studies in preclinical models used combination therapy for breast cancer cells that overexpress HER2, and the use of agents that interfere with HER2 function plus paclitaxel (Taxol) resulted in significant antitumor effects.

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