Dr. Verma on Targeting HER2 in Early-Stage Breast Cancer
Sunil Verma, MD, MSEd, FRCPC, associate professor, University of Toronto, chair, Breast Medical Oncology, Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre, discusses targeting HER2 in early-stage breast cancer.
Verma says that data have shown that trastuzumab for 1 year leads to a reduction in breast cancer recurrence by about 40% and that survival improves, in relative terms, by about 40%. Further, 9 weeks of trastuzumab also appears to be beneficial, though data were not statistically significant. In comparison to 6 months, 1 year of trastuzumab proved to be a better option in a trial, though the primary endpoint of non-inferiority was not met. The question of duration of treatment with trastuzumab still needs to be definitively answered, but 1 year is the standard of care now.
With respect to a non-anthracycline-based approach, the combination of weekly paclitaxel and trastuzumab has shown to be well tolerated and effective. Verma says this combination represents a great option for patients who have tumors up to 2 cm.