“A new randomized trial found that neoadjuvant trastuzumab/pertuzumab alone yields a substantially worse rate of pathologic complete response compared with trastuzumab/pertuzumab plus paclitaxel in women with early, HER2-positive, hormone receptor (HR)-negative breast cancer.
” ‘Pathologic complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant [therapy] has strong prognostic impact in HER2 disease,’ wrote study authors led by Ulrike Nitz, MD, of the West German Study Group GmbH in Moenchengladbach, Germany. The WSG-ADAPT HER2+/HR− trial assessed whether dual blockade with trastuzumab and pertuzumab could achieve similar rates of pCR in those with strong early response to dual blockade along with chemotherapy.”
“The FDA approved abemaciclib for the treatment of women with hormone receptor-positive HER-2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer who progressed following endocrine therapy.
“The agency approved abemaciclib (Verzenio, Eli Lilly) — an investigational cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitor —in combination with fulvestrant (Faslodex, AstraZeneca) following progression on endocrine therapy, and as a monotherapy for patients with metastatic disease previously treated with endocrine therapy and chemotherapy.”
Non-metastatic breast cancers are most often treated with surgery, but if the tumors are fairly large, or involve nearby lymph nodes, neoadjuvant (pre-operative) treatments with chemotherapy (NAC) are done first. NAC often reduces the tumor size and kills cancer cells in lymph nodes, if present, prior to surgery, improving the outcome. The best possible result of neoadjuvant treatment is pCR (pathologic compete response), when the tumor is no longer visible in imaging studies. Here, I review the new directions in which neoadjuvant treatments are evolving.
Today, treatments for metastatic breast cancers are tailored for specific subtypes. Starting with the introduction of the drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) for HER2-positive cancers, new, more specific treatment options were eventually developed and approved for other types as well. Estrogen deprivation endocrine therapies, lately prescribed in combination with CDK4/6 inhibitors, are used in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive cancers. Triple negative cancers (TNBC) are still treated mostly with chemotherapy, but immune checkpoint drugs and PARP inhibitors are explored in clinical trials, with some successes reported.
However, neoadjuvant treatments (except for HER2+ cancers) remain largely limited to chemotherapy regimens. This is starting to change now, with new approaches tailored to the cancer type being investigated in clinical trials.
In this regard, it is important to mention the I-SPY2 trial, NCT01042379, which started in 2010 and is for women with stage II-III breast cancer. It offers about a dozen drugs that are chosen based on particular features of the newly diagnosed cancers. This trial has a unique design and has produced some important results. Additional treatments and trials for various types of breast cancer are discussed below. Continue reading…
“The FDA granted breakthrough therapy designation to DS-8201 for the treatment of HER-2-positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer that progressed after treatment with other HER-2-targeting agents.
“The agency based the designation on preliminary evidence from a phase 1 study designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of DS-8201 (Daiichi Sankyo), an investigational HER-2-targeting antibody-drug conjugate.”
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Nerlynx (neratinib) for the extended adjuvant treatment of early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer. For patients with this type of cancer, Nerlynx is the first extended adjuvant therapy, a form of therapy that is taken after an initial treatment to further lower the risk of the cancer coming back. Nerlynx is indicated for adult patients who have been previously treated with a regimen that includes the drug trastuzumab.”
“The FDA granted orphan drug designation to tucatinib for the treatment of patients with breast cancer whose disease metastasized to the brain, according to the drug’s manufacturer.
“Tucatinib (ONT-380, Cascadian Therapeutics) is an investigational, orally bioavailable, potent tyrosine kinase inhibitor that is highly selective for HER-2 without significant inhibition of EGFR, which has been associated with significant toxicities.”
“Dual blockade of HER2 with lapatinib plus trastuzumab and an aromatase inhibitor (AI) was superior to single blockade with trastuzumab plus an AI in postmenopausal women with HER2-positive, hormone receptor (HR)-positive metastatic breast cancer, according to the results of the phase III ALTERNATIVE study (abstract 1004) presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, held June 2–6 in Chicago.
” ‘Dual HER2 blockade with this triplet of lapatinib/trastuzumab and an AI can offer an effective and well-tolerated chemotherapy-sparing option for patients who are not intended or appropriate for chemotherapy,’ said researcher William J. Gradishar, MD, of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University in Chicago, who presented the results.”
“The investigational third-generation nonsteroidal oral selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD) RAD1901 was associated with a 23% objective response rate among 40 heavily pretreated women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, according to authors of a phase I dose-escalation and safety cohort study (NCT02338349) presented (abstract 1014) at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, held June 2–6 in Chicago.”
“Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) today announced that results from the Phase 3 MONARCH 2 study showed that abemaciclib, a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)4 & 6 inhibitor, in combination with fulvestrant, significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS) compared to treatment with fulvestrant alone in women with hormone-receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-), advanced breast cancer who have relapsed or progressed after endocrine therapy (median PFS, 16.4 vs. 9.3 months, respectively, HR: 0.553; 95% CI: 0.449, 0.681, P < .0000001). The data were presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting (Abstract #1000) and simultaneously published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.”