Journal Article
. 2020 Jul;23(3).
doi: 10.4048/jbc.2020.23.e34.

Relative Survival Benefit by Hormonal Receptor Status of Adding Trastuzumab to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Breast Cancer Patients

Jean Schneider 1 Hyouk Jin Lee 2 Seok Jin Nam 3 Soo Jung Lee 4 Jin Hyang Jung 5 Sung Hoo Jung 6 Seung Taek Lim 7 Ye Won Jeon 7 Hongki Gwak 7 
  • PMID: 32595988
  •     23 References


Purpose: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) involving trastuzumab markedly increases pathologic complete response (pCR) rates in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer. Despite increasing pCR rates, long-term survival gains are controversial owing to distinctive biologic behavior mediated by the presence of hormonal receptors (HRs) that may interact with HER2 receptors. We, therefore, investigated the differences in relative survival gain provided by neoadjuvant trastuzumab-based chemotherapy on HR positive (HR+) status of patients.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed women with stage II or III HER2+ breast cancer who underwent NAC followed by a breast cancer surgery between 2008 and 2013. The survival benefits of adding trastuzumab to NAC were analyzed by classifying patients into HR+ and HR negative (HR-) groups.

Results: Of 666 patients included in the study, 374 (52.1%) were HR+ and 319 (47.9%) were HR-. In the HR+ group, trastuzumab treatment led to higher pCR rates and significantly better breast cancer specific survival (BCSS) and overall survival (OS) than no trastuzumab treatment. However, among patients with HR- breast cancer, trastuzumab treatment showed no statistically significant difference between BCSS and OS following multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: We found that the addition of trastuzumab to NAC improved relative survival benefit in HER2+/HR+ patients than in HER2+/HR- patients, even though the pCR rate increases were lower. Although pCR has been regarded as a surrogate marker for estimating long-term survival benefits after NAC, it alone may not translate into real long-term oncologic outcomes in particular cancer subtypes after trastuzumab-based NAC. Further longer-term evaluation of the objective survival benefit after NAC driven by a dual HER2 block according to HR status is warranted.

Keywords: Breast neoplasms; Induction chemotherapy; Receptor, ErbB-2; Survival; Trastuzumab.

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