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Blackwell Sheds Light on Recent Advances in HER2+ Breast Cancer

Angelica Welch
Published: Wednesday, Feb 14, 2018

Kimberly L. Blackwell, MD
Kimberly L. Blackwell, MD
The HER2-positive breast cancer space has seen a wave of novel treatments and FDA approvals.

, Blackwell, a medical oncologist at Duke Cancer Institute, discussed these novel agents and other recent advancements in the treatment paradigm of HER2-positive breast cancer.

OncLive: What are your thoughts on the data reported with tucatinib in patients with brain metastases?

Blackwell: Tucatinib is one of the most exciting agents out there in the investigative space that is trying to improve on current therapies for HER2-positive breast cancer. The data out of the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium evaluated giving tucatinib, a small molecule inhibitor very specific against HER2, prior to a patient receiving whole-brain radiotherapy in patients who are facing brain metastases.

It is a very exciting drug because it appears to work and get into the blood-brain barrier space, and it looks like its toxicity profile is quite nice, with very low incidence of diarrhea and rash. The low side effect profile is going to make this a very exciting drug to combine with standard chemotherapy, as well.

Tucatinib is currently being looked at in the HER2CLIMB study. Can you share some insight on that trial?

HER2CLIMB is actively accruing patients and it is a great study design. It is taking patients who have metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer and comparing a regimen that many of us use—capecitabine plus trastuzumab—to capecitabine, trastuzumab and tucatinib. Hopefully, the addition of this 1 tucatinib pill will make the combination of capecitabine and trastuzumab work longer and not add a lot to the toxicity profile.


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