Current Oncology Reports

, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp 582–586

Novel immunologic and biologic therapies for breast cancer

  • John C. Gutheil


The treatment of breast cancer has benefited substantially from the introduction of trastuzumab in 1998. Yet trastuzumab only represents the first of a series of newer biologic therapies that will change the manner in which patients with breast cancer are treated. Initially, biologic therapies will be used in combination with existing chemotherapeutic agents. However, as biologic therapies improve, chemotherapeutic agents are likely to be replaced with biologic agents that are more effective, less toxic, and more patient- and tumor-specific. Promising classes of agents include monoclonal antibodies and cancer vaccines.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References and Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Kohler G, Milstein C: Continuous cultures of fused cells secreting antibody of predefined specificity. Nature 1975, 256:495–497.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Tjandra JJ, Ramadi L, McKenzie IF: Development of human anti-murine antibody (HAMA) response in patients. Immunol Cell Biol 1990, 68 (Pt 6):367–376.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Takeda S, Naito T, Hama K, et al.: Construction of chimaeric processed immunoglobulin genes containing mouse variable and human constant region sequences. Nature 1985, 314:452–454.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cobleigh MA, Vogel CL, Tripathy D, et al.: Multinational study of the efficacy and safety of humanized anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody in women who have HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancer that has progressed after chemotherapy for metastatic disease. J Clin Oncol 1999, 17:2639–2648. One of two studies used to support approval of trastuzumab in the United States.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Buchsbaum DJL: Experimental approaches to increase radiolabeled antibody localization in tumors. Cancer Res 1995, 55(suppl 23):5729s-5732s.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Slamon DJ, Leyland-Jones B, Shak S: Addition of Herceptin (humanized anti-HER2 antibody) to first line chemotherapy for HER2 overexpressing metastatic breast cancer refractory to chemotherapy treatment [abstract]. Proc ASCO 1998, 17:98a.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Pegram MD, Lipton A, Hayes DF, et al.: Phase II study of receptor-enhanced chemosensitivity using recombinant humanized anti-p185HER2/neu monoclonal antibody plus cisplatin in patients with HER2/neu-overexpressing metastatic breast cancer refractory to chemotherapy treatment. J Clin Oncol 1998, 16:2659–2671.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ewer MS, Gibbs HR, Swafford J, Benjamin RS: Cardiotoxicity in patients receiving trastuzumab (Herceptin): primary toxicity, synergistic or sequential stress, or surveillance artifact? Semin Oncol 1999, 26(suppl 12):96–101. An excellent review of the issues surrounding trastuzumab cardiotoxicity.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Braun S, Hepp F, Kentenich CR, et al.: Monoclonal antibody therapy with edrecolomab in breast cancer patients: monitoring of elimination of disseminated cytokeratinpositive tumor cells in bone marrow. Clin Cancer Res 1999, 5:3999–4004. An interesting use of edrecolomab as treatment for microscopic residual disease in the bone marrow is reported. This may represent a new method of evaluating adjuvant therapies in the future.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Braun S, Pantel K, Muller P, et al.: Cytokeratin-positive cells in the bone marrow and survival of patients with stage I, II, or III breast cancer. N Engl J Med 2000, 342:525–533.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Braun S, Kentenich C, Janni W, et al.: Lack of effect of adjuvant chemotherapy on the elimination of single dormant tumor cells in bone marrow of high-risk breast cancer patients. J Clin Oncol 2000, 18:80–86. The authors present a possible explanation for the inability of chemotherapy to clear microscopic residual disease from the majority of patients undergoing adjuvant therapy.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Pullarkat V, Deo Y, Link J, et al.: A phase I study of a HER2/neu bispecific antibody with granulocyte-colony-stimulating factor in patients with metastatic breast cancer that overexpresses HER2/neu. Cancer Immunol Immunother 1999, 48:9–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wong JY, Somlo G, Odom-Maryon T, et al.: Initial clinical experience evaluating Yttrium-90-chimeric T84.66 anticarcinoembryonic antigen antibody and autologous hematopoietic stem cell support in patients with carcinoembryonic antigen-producing metastatic breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res 1999, 5(suppl 10):3224s-3231s.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Tolcher AW, Sugarman S, Gelmon KA, et al.: Randomized phase II study of BR96-doxorubicin conjugate in patients with metastatic breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 1999, 17:478–484.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pai-Scherf LH, Villa J, Pearson D, et al.: Hepatotoxicity in cancer patients receiving erb-38, a recombinant immunotoxin that targets the erbB2 receptor. Clin Cancer Res 1999, 5:2311–2315.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sandmaier BM, Oparin DV, Holmberg LA, et al.: Evidence of a cellular immune response against sialyl-Tn in breast and ovarian cancer patients after high-dose chemotherapy, stem cell rescue, and immunization with Theratope STn-KLH cancer vaccine. J Immunother 1999, 22:54–66.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Disis ML, Grabstein KH, Sleath PR, Cheever MA: Generation of immunity to the HER-2/neu oncogenic protein in patients with breast and ovarian cancer using a peptide-based vaccine. Clin Cancer Res 1999, 5:1289–1297. A good example of peptide-based vaccines is presented, along with a helpful discussion of the issues surrounding vaccine development.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Current Science Inc 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Gutheil
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical Research and Development, Vical, Inc.San DiegoUSA

Personalised recommendations