BREAST CANCER: Two new agents show promising clinical results in HER2+ disease: trastuzumab deruxtecan, an antibody-drug conjugate, and tucatinib, a small molecule inhibitor.

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Dec. 23, 2019

SCIENTIFIC

Trastuzumab Deruxtecan in Previously Treated HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

The New England Journal of Medicine, December 11, 2019

Background

Trastuzumab deruxtecan (DS-8201) is an antibody-drug conjugate composed of an anti-HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) antibody, a cleavable tetrapeptide-based linker, and a cytotoxic topoisomerase I inhibitor. In a phase 1 dose-finding study, a majority of the patients with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer had a response to trastuzumab deruxtecan (median response duration, 20.7 months). The efficacy of trastuzumab deruxtecan in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer previously treated with trastuzumab emtansine requires confirmation.

Methods

In this two-part, open-label, single-group, multicenter, phase 2 study, we evaluated trastuzumab deruxtecan in adults with pathologically documented HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who had received previous treatment with trastuzumab emtansine. In the first part of the study, we evaluated three different doses of trastuzumab deruxtecan to establish a recommended dose; in the second part, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of the recommended dose. The primary end point was the objective response, according to independent central review. Key secondary end points were the disease-control rate, clinical-benefit rate, duration of response and progression-free survival, and safety.

Results

Overall, 184 patients who had undergone a median of six previous treatments received the recommended dose of trastuzumab deruxtecan (5.4 mg per kilogram of body weight). In the intention-to-treat analysis, a response to therapy was reported in 112 patients (60.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 53.4 to 68.0). The median duration of follow-up was 11.1 months (range, 0.7 to 19.9). The median response duration was 14.8 months (95% CI, 13.8 to 16.9), and the median duration of progression-free survival was 16.4 months (95% CI, 12.7 to not reached). During the study, the most common adverse events of grade 3 or higher were a decreased neutrophil count (in 20.7% of the patients), anemia (in 8.7%), and nausea (in 7.6%). On independent adjudication, the trial drug was associated with interstitial lung disease in 13.6% of the patients (grade 1 or 2, 10.9%; grade 3 or 4, 0.5%; and grade 5, 2.2%).

Conclusions

Trastuzumab deruxtecan showed durable antitumor activity in a pretreated patient population with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. In addition to nausea and myelosuppression, interstitial lung disease was observed in a subgroup of patients and requires attention to pulmonary symptoms and careful monitoring. (Funded by Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca; DESTINY-Breast01 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03248492. opens in new tab.)

 

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1914510

 

Tucatinib, Trastuzumab, and Capecitabine for HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer

The New England Journal of Medicine, December 11, 2019

Background

Patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)–positive metastatic breast cancer who have disease progression after therapy with multiple HER2-targeted agents have limited treatment options. Tucatinib is an investigational, oral, highly selective inhibitor of the HER2 tyrosine kinase.

Methods

We randomly assigned patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer previously treated with trastuzumab, pertuzumab, and trastuzumab emtansine, who had or did not have brain metastases, to receive either tucatinib or placebo, in combination with trastuzumab and capecitabine. The primary end point was progression-free survival among the first 480 patients who underwent randomization. Secondary end points, assessed in the total population (612 patients), included overall survival, progression-free survival among patients with brain metastases, confirmed objective response rate, and safety.

Results

Progression-free survival at 1 year was 33.1% in the tucatinib-combination group and 12.3% in the placebo-combination group (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.42 to 0.71; P<0.001), and the median duration of progression-free survival was 7.8 months and 5.6 months, respectively. Overall survival at 2 years was 44.9% in the tucatinib-combination group and 26.6% in the placebo-combination group (hazard ratio for death, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.88; P=0.005), and the median overall survival was 21.9 months and 17.4 months, respectively. Among the patients with brain metastases, progression-free survival at 1 year was 24.9% in the tucatinib-combination group and 0% in the placebo-combination group (hazard ratio, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.69; P<0.001), and the median progression-free survival was 7.6 months and 5.4 months, respectively. Common adverse events in the tucatinib group included diarrhea, palmar–plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome, nausea, fatigue, and vomiting. Diarrhea and elevated aminotransferase levels of grade 3 or higher were more common in the tucatinib-combination group than in the placebo-combination group.

Conclusions

In heavily pretreated patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, including those with brain metastases, adding tucatinib to trastuzumab and capecitabine resulted in better progression-free survival and overall survival outcomes than adding placebo; the risks of diarrhea and elevated aminotransferase levels were higher with tucatinib. (Funded by Seattle Genetics; HER2CLIMB ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02614794. opens in new tab.)

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1914609