Novel HER2-Targeted Agent May Improve Options in Recurrent Metastatic Breast Cancer

Rachel Narozniak, MA
Published: Monday, Dec 02, 2019
Ian E. Krop, MD, PhD

Ian E. Krop, MD, PhD

In an effort to expand treatment options for patients with recurrent HER2-positive breast cancer, investigators are testing a novel antibody-drug conjugate (ADC): [fam-] trastuzumab deruxtecan (DS-8201a). The drug has achieved breakthrough therapy status.

Physicians are not without options for treating later-stage disease. Patients often receive a combination of chemotherapy and a HER2-targeted agent such as trastuzumab or lapatinib, said Krop, associate chief of the Division of Breast Oncology at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Figure. [ Fam-] Trastuzumab Deruxtecan in Pretreated HER2+ Breast Cancer Phase III DESTINY-Breast02 Trial (Click to Enlarge)

However, the activities of these agents are limited and there is a need for better treatments for this population. “Of the studies that have reported results to date, the PFS has been in the 3- to 5-month range, and the response rates for trastuzumab combined with chemotherapy have generally been <20% in this setting,” Krop said.

“Although we’ve made many advances in the treatment of advanced HER2-positive breast cancer, this disease still remains incurable,” said Rashmi K. Murthy, MD, MBE, principal investigator of DESTINY-Breast02 at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

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