Dr. Tolaney on the Evolution of Treatment in HER2+ Breast Cancer

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Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH, discusses the evolution of treatment in HER2-positive breast cancer.

Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH, associate director of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers; director of Clinical Trials, Breast Oncology; and senior physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, as well as an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, discusses the evolution of treatment in HER2-positive breast cancer.

Historically, patients with HER2-positive breast cancer were mostly treated in the adjuvant setting with HER2-targeted therapy, says Tolaney. However, in the past few years, the field has developed a greater understanding of the importance of preoperative therapy.

Additionally, data have shown that adjuvant treatment can be tailored to women who have residual disease after receiving preoperative HER2-targeted therapy,​ Tolaney explains. Further, as displayed in the ​phase 3 APHINITY trial, outcomes can also be improved by adding pertuzumab (Perjeta) to trastuzumab (Herceptin) and chemotherapy.

Future research efforts should focus on refining therapies​, as well as ​establishing de-escalation ​techniques for treatment, Tolaney concludes.

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