gms | German Medical Science

27. Deutscher Krebskongress

Deutsche Krebsgesellschaft e. V.

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Symptomatic Relief Under Long-Term Herceptin Therapy Complemented by Acupuncture: Patient Self-Assessment Using a Visual Analog Scale

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Antje Kristina Belau - Universitätsklinikum Greifswald, Deutschland
  • Katja Bartz - Universitätsklinikum Greifswald
  • Hilke Frese - Universitätsklinikum Greifswald
  • Ralf Ohlinger - Universitätsklinikum Greifswald
  • Margrit Nehmzow - Universitätsklinikum Greifswald
  • Guenter Koehler - Universitätsklinikum Greifswald

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocPO553

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Veröffentlicht: 20. März 2006

© 2006 Belau et al.
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Case report: In October 2000, a then 60 year-old patient was first seen in our department for carcinomatous lymphangiosis of the left breast and multiple skin metastases. In 1997/98, the patient undergoing breast-preserving surgery plus postoperative radiation therapy.

After completing staging diagnostics, we proceeded with mastectomy in October 2000. The resulting left chest wall defect was covered with a split-thickness skin graft. Because of bone metastases and new skin metastases, we completed Her-2-neu testing (3+) in January 2001 and started the patient on weekly doses of Herceptin® combined with intravenous pamidron (Aredia®). By the end of January 2002, the patient’s skin metastases continued to regress, while her bone metastases were progressing. We therefore opted to add 175 mg/m2 paclitaxel. After 8 cycles (June 2002), the bone metastases were regressing. We continued monotherapy with Herceptin every three weeks. At the end of August 2003, supraclavicular skin metastases progressed bilaterally. We advised expectant management. The skin metastases remained stable until November 2003. Beginning in January 2004, the skin metastases on the left side of the neck began to enlarge, and we recommended adding vinorelbine on days 1+8. The patient refused. Her Herceptin therapy was supplemented by acupuncture. After the first series of treatments, the skin metastases were found to regress and the patient’s sensation of tension in the area of the skin graft decreased. In August 2004, scintigraphy revealed that the metastases were progressing. Since the patients refused chemotherapy, we only continued with Herceptin and acupuncture. After a year and half on this combined management, the patient used a 100mm visual analog scale to assess her symptomatic improvement. In March 2005, we admistered the 106th Herceptin dose. The patient’s only complaints were worsening symptoms in the region of her right hip. Because of progressing bone metastases and impending fracture, she was advised to undergo surgery.

Conclusions: The reported course proves that long-term Herceptin therapy can result in quite a satisfactory quality of life, especially because of the lack of side-effects. It is interesting to note that supplementary acupuncture may improve quality of life even more and without the burden of chemotherapy. In addition, acupuncture proved to be an adequate and effective complementary method for symptomatic treatment.