In a nutshell
The authors reviewed the benefits and safety of ado–trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), a treatment for metastatic breast cancer (cancer that has spread to other areas of the body).
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive (HER2) breast cancer depends on HER2 for growth. Treatments that target the HER2 receptor directly are effective, but not all HER2+ breast cancers are sensitive to these drugs or may develop resistance. Other anti-HER2 agents are needed for patients whose disease has progressed despite HER2-targeted therapy.
Methods & findings
The aim of this study was to review the effects and toxicities associated with ado–trastuzumab emtansine.
991 patients with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer were involved in this study. 495 of these patients were treated with ado–trastuzumab emtansine (Group 1). In Group 2, 496 patients were treated with lapatinib (Tykerb, another HER2 targeted treatment) plus capecitabine (Xeloda, a chemotherapy).
Patients in Group 1 had a 35% reduced likelihood of cancer progression, compared to Group 2. The time to cancer progression was also increased; 9 months in Group 1 and 6 months in Group 2. Overall survival in Group 1 was also improved by 38%.
The most common side effects were thrombocytopenia (deficiency in blood platelets that help to clot blood), elevated liver enzymes (indicating liver damage), headaches, and nosebleeds. 14% of patients experienced severe thrombocytopenia.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that ado–trastuzumab emtansine provided patients with a valuable treatment for HER2+ metastatic breast cancer with increased chances of survival.
Discuss the risks and benefits of ado–trastuzumab emtansine with your doctor if your cancer has progressed despite treatment.
Published By :
Clinical Cancer Research
May 30, 2014
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