Author(s): Gradishar WJ, Jain S, Mutonga MB
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)/neu-positive breast cancer has changed from being an aggressive disease with a poor prognosis to a disease that is highly treatable, with prolonged survival possible even in patients with metastatic disease. A better understanding of HER2 biology has led to the development of powerful targeted therapies, and four drugs are already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment in the metastatic setting (trastuzumab, pertuzumab, lapatinib, and trastuzumab emtansine). Optimizing how these drugs are delivered and in what sequence is an important part of modern management of HER2-positive breast cancer. However, while the prognosis has improved, metastatic disease is still not curable; newer, better drugs are needed. This review will summarize the current standard of care; key issues that arise when treating patients with HER2-positive disease; and developments in novel therapeutics, including small-molecule inhibitors, nanoparticles, immunotherapy, and agents targeting resistance pathways.