Neoadjuvant treatment with trastuzumab in HER2-positive breast cancer: results from the GeparQuattro study

Michael Untch, Mahdi Rezai, Sibylle Loibl, Peter A Fasching, Jens Huober, Hans Tesch, Ingo Bauerfeind, Jörn Hilfrich, Holger Eidtmann, Bernd Gerber, Claus Hanusch, Thorsten Kühn, Andreas du Bois, Jens-Uwe Blohmer, Christoph Thomssen, Serban Dan Costa, Christian Jackisch, Manfred Kaufmann, Keyur Mehta, Gunter von Minckwitz
Journal of Clinical Oncology: Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2010 April 20, 28 (12): 2024-31
PURPOSE Trastuzumab, a humanized antibody against the human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2), has shown high efficacy in breast cancer. We prospectively investigated its efficacy given simultaneously with anthracycline-taxane-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS Patients with operable or locally advanced, HER2-positive tumors were treated preoperatively with four cycles of epirubicin/cyclophosphamide followed by four cycles of docetaxel with or without capecitabine (EC-T[X]) and trastuzumab 6 mg/kg (with a loading dose of 8 mg/kg) every 3 weeks during all chemotherapy cycles. Patients with HER2-negative tumors treated in the same study with the same chemotherapy but without trastuzumab were used as a reference group. Results Of 1,509 participants, 445 had HER2-positive tumors treated with trastuzumab and chemotherapy. Pathologic complete response (pCR; defined as no invasive or in situ residual tumors in the breast) rate was 31.7%, which was 16% higher than that in the reference group (15.7%). HER2-positive patients without response to the first four cycles of EC showed an unexpectedly high pCR rate of 16.6% (3.3% in the reference group). Breast conservation rate was 63.1% and comparable to that of the reference group (64.7%). EC-T(X) plus trastuzumab was associated with more febrile neutropenia and conjunctivitis, but with a comparable short-term cardiac toxicity profile as the reference group. CONCLUSION This trial confirms that combining trastuzumab with anthracycline-taxane-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy results in a high pCR rate without clinically relevant early toxicity. Combination of chemotherapy with trastuzumab should be considered when neoadjuvant treatment is given to patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.

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