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Trastuzumab emtansine Improves Treatment of Early Stage HER 2-positive Breast Cancer

Adjuvant trastuzumab emtansine showed improved disease-free survival compared with trastuzumab in HER2-positive early breast cancer.

Patients with HER 2-positive early stage breast cancer with residual disease who received adjuvant trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) had improved disease-free survival compared to patients who received adjuvant trastuzumab, according to the results from the phase 3 KATHERINE trial. Previously reported trial results were presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.1,2,3

Among women with advanced, previously treated, HER2-positive breast cancer, trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1)—an investigational drug that combines Herceptin® (trastuzumab) and a chemotherapy drug—resulted in better progression-free survival than standard treatment. The results of this Phase III clinical trial were presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

About Trastuzumab emtansine

Approximately 20-25% of breast cancers overexpress (make too much of) the HER2 protein. HER2-targeted therapies such as Herceptin have dramatically improved outcomes for women with HER2-positive breast cancer, but researchers continue to explore new approaches to treatment.

T-DM1 links trastuzumab with a chemotherapy drug (DM1). T-DM1 delivers Trastuzumab and DM1 directly to HER2-positive cells, and limits exposure of the rest of the body to the chemotherapy.

The KATHERINE clinical trial enrolled nearly 1500 patients with HER2-positive early stage breast cancer who had residual cancer present in the breast or axillary lymph nodes following preoperative therapy. Patients were randomly selected to receive either adjuvant T-DM1 or trastuzumab.

Overall 77% of patients who received trastuzumab compared to 88.3% of patients who received T-DM1 were alive without evidence of cancer progression 3 years from treatment. This represents an absolute increase improvement of 11% for patients treated with T-DM1.



2. Geyer CE, Huang CS, Mano MS, et al. Phase III study of trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) vs trastuzumab as adjuvant therapy in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer with residual invasive disease after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and HER2-targeted therapy including trastuzumab: Primary results from KATHERINE. Oral presentation at: 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; December 4-8, 2018; San Antonio, TX.

3. Minckwitz GV, Huang CS, Mano MS, et al. Trastuzumab emtansine for residual invasive HER2-positive breast cancer [published online December 5, 2018]. N Engl J Med. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1814017

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