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      Exploring the use and impact of adjuvant Trastuzumab for HER2-positive breast cancer patients in a large UK cancer network Do the results of international clinical trials translate into a similar benefit for patients in South East Wales?

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          Trastuzumab was approved in the United Kingdom for adjuvant treatment of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)+ breast cancer in 2006 at significant economic cost and with limited evidence in smaller T1N0 tumours. The South East Wales Cancer Network covers a population of 1 420 000 and maintains a database of treatments used. We examined this database to ensure the outcome of Trastuzumab use is as expected, especially in patients with T1N0 cancers.


          M Case notes of patients with HER2+ disease eligible for adjuvant Trastuzumab over 2005–2008 were reviewed. Disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were calculated with the Kaplan–Meier method using SPSS (version 16.0.01 for Windows, SPSS, Chicago, IL, USA).


          A total of 239 of 338 (70.7%) eligible HER2+ patients received treatment. At 3 years, the DFS of the treated group was 90.3% vs 73.3% and the OS was 98.5% vs 87.6%. In all, 47 of 92 stage I patients received Trastuzumab. Despite a trend towards worse prognostic factors in the treated group the DFS was 100% vs 84.1% and the OS was 100% vs 93.3%.


          Our results are comparable to those from landmark Trastuzumab trials. As evidence continues to emerge that smaller HER2+ cancers may behave aggressively our analysis of stage I tumours adds further support to the use of Trastuzumab in these patients.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Human breast cancer: correlation of relapse and survival with amplification of the HER-2/neu oncogene.

           A Ullrich,  N Wong,  P. Clark (1987)
          The HER-2/neu oncogene is a member of the erbB-like oncogene family, and is related to, but distinct from, the epidermal growth factor receptor. This gene has been shown to be amplified in human breast cancer cell lines. In the current study, alterations of the gene in 189 primary human breast cancers were investigated. HER-2/neu was found to be amplified from 2- to greater than 20-fold in 30% of the tumors. Correlation of gene amplification with several disease parameters was evaluated. Amplification of the HER-2/neu gene was a significant predictor of both overall survival and time to relapse in patients with breast cancer. It retained its significance even when adjustments were made for other known prognostic factors. Moreover, HER-2/neu amplification had greater prognostic value than most currently used prognostic factors, including hormonal-receptor status, in lymph node-positive disease. These data indicate that this gene may play a role in the biologic behavior and/or pathogenesis of human breast cancer.
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            Trastuzumab plus adjuvant chemotherapy for operable HER2-positive breast cancer.

            We present the combined results of two trials that compared adjuvant chemotherapy with or without concurrent trastuzumab in women with surgically removed HER2-positive breast cancer. The National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project trial B-31 compared doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide followed by paclitaxel every 3 weeks (group 1) with the same regimen plus 52 weeks of trastuzumab beginning with the first dose of paclitaxel (group 2). The North Central Cancer Treatment Group trial N9831 compared three regimens: doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide followed by weekly paclitaxel (group A), the same regimen followed by 52 weeks of trastuzumab after paclitaxel (group B), and the same regimen plus 52 weeks of trastuzumab initiated concomitantly with paclitaxel (group C). The studies were amended to include a joint analysis comparing groups 1 and A (the control group) with groups 2 and C (the trastuzumab group). Group B was excluded because trastuzumab was not given concurrently with paclitaxel. By March 15, 2005, 394 events (recurrent, second primary cancer, or death before recurrence) had been reported, triggering the first scheduled interim analysis. Of these, 133 were in the trastuzumab group and 261 in the control group (hazard ratio, 0.48; P<0.0001). This result crossed the early stopping boundary. The absolute difference in disease-free survival between the trastuzumab group and the control group was 12 percent at three years. Trastuzumab therapy was associated with a 33 percent reduction in the risk of death (P=0.015). The three-year cumulative incidence of class III or IV congestive heart failure or death from cardiac causes in the trastuzumab group was 4.1 percent in trial B-31 and 2.9 percent in trial N9831. Trastuzumab combined with paclitaxel after doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide improves outcomes among women with surgically removed HER2-positive breast cancer. ( numbers, NCT00004067 and NCT00005970.) Copyright 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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              Trastuzumab after adjuvant chemotherapy in HER2-positive breast cancer.

              Trastuzumab, a recombinant monoclonal antibody against HER2, has clinical activity in advanced breast cancer that overexpresses HER2. We investigated its efficacy and safety after excision of early-stage breast cancer and completion of chemotherapy. This international, multicenter, randomized trial compared one or two years of trastuzumab given every three weeks with observation in patients with HER2-positive and either node-negative or node-positive breast cancer who had completed locoregional therapy and at least four cycles of neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy. Data were available for 1694 women randomly assigned to two years of treatment with trastuzumab, 1694 women assigned to one year of trastuzumab, and 1693 women assigned to observation. We report here the results only of treatment with trastuzumab for one year or observation. At the first planned interim analysis (median follow-up of one year), 347 events (recurrence of breast cancer, contralateral breast cancer, second nonbreast malignant disease, or death) were observed: 127 events in the trastuzumab group and 220 in the observation group. The unadjusted hazard ratio for an event in the trastuzumab group, as compared with the observation group, was 0.54 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.43 to 0.67; P<0.0001 by the log-rank test, crossing the interim analysis boundary), representing an absolute benefit in terms of disease-free survival at two years of 8.4 percentage points. Overall survival in the two groups was not significantly different (29 deaths with trastuzumab vs. 37 with observation). Severe cardiotoxicity developed in 0.5 percent of the women who were treated with trastuzumab. One year of treatment with trastuzumab after adjuvant chemotherapy significantly improves disease-free survival among women with HER2-positive breast cancer. ( number, NCT00045032.) Copyright 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society.

                Author and article information

                Br J Cancer
                British Journal of Cancer
                Nature Publishing Group
                03 January 2012
                22 November 2011
                : 106
                : 1
                : 32-38
                [1 ]Department of Clinical Oncology, Velindre Cancer Centre, Whitchurch , Cardiff CF14 2TL, UK
                [2 ]Department of Pathology, University Hospital of Wales , Cardiff, UK
                Author notes
                Copyright © 2012 Cancer Research UK
                Clinical Study

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

                adjuvant, her2+, trastuzumab


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