Stemmler, H. J.; Kahlert, S.; Siekiera, W.; Untch, M.; Heinrich, B.; Heinemann, Volker (2005): Prolonged survival of patients receiving trastuzumab beyond disease progression for HER2 overexpressing metastatic breast cancer (MBC). In: Onkologie, Nr. 11: S. 582-586




Background: The aim of this retrospective analysis was to evaluate the impact of trastuzumab-based regimens on the survival of patients with HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancer (MBC). The study specifically focussed on the influence of the continuation of trastuzumab-based treatment despite tumor progression on survival. Patients and Methods: Patients with HER2 overexpressing MBC were included in this retrospective analysis. HER2 overexpression was determined by the immunohistochemical staining score (DAKO Hercep Test (TM)). Trastuzumab was applied at a loading dose of 4 mg/kg and a maintenance dose of 2 mg/kg. Results: Among 136 HER2 overexpressing patients (DAKO score 3+), 66 patients received first-line trastuzumab, 47 patients received trastuzumab as second-line therapy and 23 patients received trastuzumab beyond disease progression. There was no significant difference regarding the duration of trastuzumab-based treatment (first-line: 29.5 weeks vs. second-line: 25 weeks). Moreover, there was no difference in the response rate (first-line: 37.9% vs. second-line: 35.7%) or the median survival (p = 0.47 log rank). Patients who received >= 2 trastuzumab-based regimens for MBC survived significantly longer compared to those who had received only 1 regimen (>= 2 regimens: 62.4 months vs. 1 regimen: 38.5 months; p = 0.01 log rank). Conclusions: Trastuzumab is highly effective in the treatment of HER2 overexpressing MBC. Compared to historical controls, overall survival appears to be markedly prolonged, particularly in patients who received sequential trastuzumab-based treatment beyond disease progression.