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Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

The authors reviewed the benefits and safety of adotrastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), a treatment for metastatic breast cancer (cancer that has spread to other areas of the body).

Some background

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 adotrastuzumab emtansine.

991 patients with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer were involved in this study. 495 of these patients were treated with adotrastuzumab 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 adotrastuzumab emtansine provided patients with a valuable treatment for HER2+ metastatic breast cancer with increased chances of survival.

What’s next?

Discuss the risks and benefits of adotrastuzumab emtansine with your doctor if your cancer has progressed despite treatment.

Published By :

Clinical Cancer Research

Date :

May 30, 2014

Original Title :

FDA Approval: Ado-trastuzumab Emtansine for the Treatment of Patients with HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer.

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