Author(s): Gelmon KA, Mackey J, Verma S, Gertler SZ, Bangemann N
HER2 overexpression is associated with poor breast cancer prognosis and is the target for the humanized monoclonal antibody trastuzumab. This novel agent, when administered until disease progression in combination with chemotherapy, extends the survival of women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC). However, the optimal duration of trastuzumab therapy remains to be confirmed. We conducted a retrospective case review study of women with HER2-positive MBC who continued to receive trastuzumab beyond disease progression. Objectives were to assess whether treatment beyond disease progression shows any evidence of efficacy and to evaluate the feasibility of this approach. One hundred five patients (median age, 47 years; range, 24-77 years) were identified in 13 centers. Women had received /=1 more trastuzumab regimen. Trastuzumab treatment beyond progression appears to be of value, producing responses and clinical benefit, and is well tolerated without significant cardiac toxicity. The feasibility of this approach warrants examination in prospective trials.