Nancy U. Lin, MD, discusses the challenges faced in the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer and brain metastases.
Nancy U. Lin, MD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School; associate chief of the Division of Breast Oncology, Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers; director of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Program and senior physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses the challenges faced in the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer and brain metastases.
The natural history of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer has changed over the past decade with the advent of anti-HER2 therapies, says Lin. Over time, it has been found that approximately half of patients who have HER2-positive metastatic disease will eventually develop cancer in the brain, according to Lin.
These patients can now survive much longer than they have historically. However, 1 course of radiation or 1 course of local treatment is often not enough, and patients can repeatedly experience central nervous system progression, explains Lin. It can be difficult to determine what the best treatment options are for these patients now that the disease has a longer natural history, concludes Lin.