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Expert Recaps Recent Developments in HER2+ Breast Cancer

Laura Panjwani
Published: Wednesday, Aug 17, 2016

Chau T. Dang, MD

Chau T. Dang, MD

The treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer has evolved quite a bit in recent years; however, there is still more than can be achieved, explains Chau T. Dang, MD.

In the interview, Dang also explains the biggest challenges with HER2-positive breast cancer that need to be addressed and what she hopes to see achieved in the future.

OncLive: What did we learn from the PHEREXA trial?

Dang: The PHEREXA trial looked at the combination of trastuzumab and pertuzumab in the second-line setting. We know that dual-antibody therapy with chemotherapy is indicated for first-line, but we did not know if it had potential in second-line.

 patients to try and find better treatments. Certainly, though, T-DM1 is a still an excellent option.

Please discuss the significance of the emergence of trastuzumab biosimilars.

At the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting, Dr Hope Rugo reported a study looking at [the biosimilar] MYL-1401O with a taxane versus trastuzumab with a taxane as first-line treatment for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. It is, essentially, an equivalency trial, and she did show that this proposed biosimilar was equivalent to trastuzumab when both biologics were added to chemotherapy.

That is important to note because trastuzumab is not widely available worldwide. One of the main reasons is because of the cost. If we start seeing data of this biosimilar and hopefully others that may be available going forward, we will be able to treat more patients worldwide.

What other emerging therapies for HER2-breast cancer are you excited about?

Neratinib is being studied right now in a large phase III trial known as the NALA study, which is looking at neratinib plus capecitabine compared to lapatinib and capecitabine. This trial will allow us to see if neratinib, along with the standard chemotherapy, will beat its control and offer another option for our patients.

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