This video reviews the latest trials and research on immunotherapeutic agents being tested in breast cancer.
Leisha A. Emens, MD, PhD
The immune system is active in breast cancer, playing a dual role in tumor progression and in immune surveillance. Infiltrating immune cells are both prognostic and predictive of response to standard breast cancer therapies.
This article reviews clinical data informing the effective management of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, including the optimal sequence of HER2-targeted agents.
Trastuzumab (Herceptin) is a therapeutic monoclonal antibody specific
for the human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2), a
cell-surface tyrosine kinase receptor overexpressed by 25% to 30% of
breast cancers. The drug is now regarded as one option for standard
therapy in HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancers. It is associated
with a moderate response rate as a single agent, and in combination
with standard chemotherapy, can produce greater response rates
and prolong the survival of women with advanced breast cancer. Its
activity in metastatic breast cancer has led to active clinical trials examining
its potential role in the neoadjuvant and adjuvant settings.
The successful clinical development of trastuzumab provides further
proof of principle that biologically targeted therapies can have a profound
impact on the management of breast cancer. Here we review the
clinical development of this novel agent, emphasizing the potential for
therapeutic synergy when trastuzumab is combined with both standard
chemotherapy and innovative molecularly targeted and biologic agents.