The Impact of COVID-19 on Treatment Decisions Across Patients with HER2-Positive Breast Cancer


Discussion centered around the how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced clinical treatment decisions across patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.

Joyce O’Shaughnessy, MD: When the COVID pandemic first appeared in early 2020 and before we had any vaccines or protections for patients, we tried to really limit our patients coming to the cancer center and limit the amount of time. They're simply not to expose them to people, cancer centers are busy to decrease their risk of contracting COVID because we were very concerned they would get very, very ill. So in that context, the use of the subcutaneous formulation of the trastuzumab and pertuzumab was a very good option to have, because patients could receive the subcutaneous formulation within five to 10 minutes and then leave. So their exposure in the infusion room was a lot shorter than needing to have several hours of an IV administration. So that was useful for patients. Sometimes in various parts of the country some of the academic institutions were even having home health nurses who were trained to administer the subcutaneous pertuzumab and trastuzumab be able to administer the treatment to patients in their homes because it's very, very safe. So that was done as well to some extent during the early days of the COVID pandemic. Now, fortunately, really we're back to business as usual. So it's not so much any longer consideration of COVID exposure. It's really mainly as we saw in the PHranceSCA trial that patients just strongly prefer to spend as less time as possible at the cancer center. So patients strongly prefer the subcutaneous formulation.

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