Video

Dr. Tolaney Discusses the Role of Chemotherapy in HER2+ Breast Cancer

Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH, instructor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, attending physician of medical oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses the role of chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.

Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH, instructor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, attending physician of medical oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses the role of chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.

The question of whether chemotherapy can be reduced as biological therapies come to the forefront is being discussed in the HER2-positive breast cancer space, says Tolaney. The field is heading in that direction, she explains. If a patient is given preoperative taxane with trastuzumab (Herceptin) and pertuzumab (Perjeta) and achieves a pathologic complete response, they may be able to get away with only using biologics from then on out.

More data is needed to get there. T-DM1 (ado-trastuzumab emtansine; Kadcyla) may be able to address some of the needs that chemotherapy fills currently, Tolaney suggests. The KAITLIN trial is currently comparing T-DM1 plus pertuzumab versus docetaxel, carboplatin, trastuzumab, and pertuzumab. Some other trials are pending that may be able to answer the question of chemotherapy’s role, Tolaney concludes.

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