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Trastuzumab Emtansine: A Review of Its Adjuvant Use in Residual Invasive HER2-Positive Early Breast Cancer

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posted on 12.10.2020, 01:51 authored by Katherine A. Lyseng-Williamson


Funding The preparation of this review was not supported by any external funding.

Authorship and Conflict of interestKatherine A. Lyseng-Williamson is a salaried employee of Adis International Ltd/Springer Nature and declares no relevant conflicts of interest. All authors to the review are responsible for the article content.

Ethics approval, Consent to participate, Consent for publication, Availability of data and material, Code availability Not applicable.

Additional information about this Adis Drug Review can be found here


Trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla®), an antibody-drug conjugate of trastuzumab (Herceptin®) connected by a thioether linker to the microtubule inhibitor DM1 (a cytotoxic derivative of maytansine), provides direct intracellular delivery of the potent cytotoxin DM1 to HER2-overexpressing cells, while retaining trastuzumab activity. Its approval in metastatic/advanced breast cancer (BC) has been extended to include single-agent adjuvant treatment of HER2-positive early BC in patients with residual invasive disease in the breast and/or lymph nodes after neoadjuvant taxane-based and HER2-targeted treatment. In the pivotal KATHERINE trial in this population, significantly more trastuzumab emtansine than trastuzumab recipients were estimated to be free of invasive disease recurrence at 3 years, with a 50% reduction in the risk of invasive disease recurrence or death. The tolerability of trastuzumab emtansine in early BC was consistent with its known safety profile; as expected, adverse events were more common with trastuzumab emtansine than with trastuzumab. Recently updated international and national treatment guidelines recommend trastuzumab emtansine as a preferred option in this high-risk BC population.

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