Adis Spotlight


, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 259-262

First online:

Spotlight on Trastuzumab in the Management of HER2-Positive Metastatic and Early-Stage Breast Cancer

  • Greg L. PloskerAffiliated withAdis International Limited Email author 
  • , Susan J. KeamAffiliated withAdis International Limited

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Trastuzumab (Herceptin®) is a humanized monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of breast cancer that overexpresses human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which is associated with clinically aggressive disease and a poor prognosis.

The addition of intravenous trastuzumab to first-line chemotherapy improved the time to disease progression, objective response rate, duration of response, and overall survival in randomized, multicenter trials in women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. As such, trastuzumab has become the standard of care in this setting, despite its high acquisition cost and potential for cardiac events, and is licensed for use in combination with paclitaxel (Europe and the US) or docetaxel (Europe). In addition, trastuzumab monotherapy is approved for use in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who have previously received chemotherapy for their metastatic disease. Recent data from large phase III trials with trastuzumab in the adjuvant setting revealed significant improvements in disease-free and overall survival. Thus, trastuzumab is also rapidly becoming a standard component of adjuvant therapy for patients with HER2-positive early-stage breast cancer.