Improving Outcomes in Patients With HER2+ Metastatic Breast Cancer: Applying Evidence to Clinical Practice - Episode 1

Overview of HER2+ Metastatic Breast Cancer (mBC)

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To begin the program, an expert panel of leaders in the management of HER2+ metastatic breast cancer provides an overview of the disease landscape.

Erika Hamilton, MD: Welcome to this Cancer Network® program titled “Improving Outcomes in Patients With HER2+ Metastatic Breast Cancer: Applying Evidence to Clinical Practice." I'm your host, Dr Erika Hamilton. I lead the breast cancer and gynecologic research program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Tennessee Oncology [in] Nashville, Tennessee. I have with me here today 3 experts who treat patients with breast cancer, and I'd like to invite my esteemed fellow panelists to introduce themselves. Dr Nanda?

Rita Nanda, MD: Hi, I'm Dr Rita Nanda. I'm a breast medical oncologist and associate professor of medicine and director of the breast oncology program at the University of Chicago.

Erika Hamilton, MD: Dr Traina?

Tiffany Traina, MD: Hi, I'm Dr Tiffany Traina, breast medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, associate professor of medicine, and vice-chair in the department of medicine in New York City.

Erika Hamilton, MD: Dr Jones?

Ryan Jones, MD: Hi, I'm Dr Ryan Jones. I'm a radiation oncologist with Tennessee Oncology based out of Nashville, Tennessee. We are a member group of an organization called OneOncology, a nationwide cancer organization. I'm one of the lead radiation oncologists for clinical guidelines development with that group.

Erika Hamilton, MD: Thank you so much for joining me. Today, we're going to discuss the evolving landscape of HER2-positive [HER2+] breast cancer, particularly with an emphasis on patients that are facing brain metastases. We'll discuss the latest research and how recent clinical trials are changing how we manage treatment for this group of patients to improve outcomes. Let's begin.

First off, I'd like to talk a little bit about what we see in terms of HER2+ breast cancer right now. Really, HER2+ breast cancer excites me more than any other subtype just because of how far we've come. We used to traditionally think about triple-negative and HER2 [as] being the worst prognosis subtypes of breast cancer, and with recent advances from antibodies to targeted agents, to antibody-drug conjugates, patients [with] HER2+ [disease] are doing so well that we no longer think of it as a poor prognosis cancer. In the metastatic setting, it's gotten to the point that over 50% of our patients with metastatic HER2+ breast cancer have de novo disease, meaning they were diagnosed with metastases at the start. That's really because, if we're able to get our hands on patients in the early setting, over 90% of them are cured, which is really fantastic to see.

We haven't fully seen the whole impact of COVID-19. We have been seeing patients with a bit more advanced cancer, which [is] unfortunate due to some people pushing off screening due to COVID-19 worries, but that's certainly a factor that we're watching right now as well.

Transcript has been edited for clarity.