Dual HER2-targeted approaches in HER2-positive breast cancer

Eugene R. Ahn, Charles L. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Approximately 15-20% of all breast cancers are human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive, with clinical studies having validated the HER2 receptor tyrosine kinase pathway as an important therapeutic target. Presently, two HER2-targeted therapies are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer: the HER2-targeted humanized monoclonal antibody trastuzumab and the small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib. Despite use of these HER2-targeted agents, many patients still experience disease progression. For this reason, numerous new agents and therapeutic strategies are under investigation. Based on preclinical data suggesting synergistic effects from dual therapy targeting HER2, clinical trials that test the effects of combining anti-HER2 agents have been conducted and are ongoing. Here, we review recently presented data from several clinical trials, which indicate that the strategy of combining HER2 blockade therapies can offer greater clinical efficacy, with adverse effects of varying degrees. Specifically, we review new data reported at the 2010 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS 2010), including the phase II NeoSphere and phase III NeoALTTO clinical trials, and data from three clinical trials reported at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO 2011) meeting. Together these trials elucidate the potential role of combining trastuzumab with lapatinib or pertuzumab. We also discuss additional ongoing studies that will help further define the role of dual HER2 blockade therapies and its impact on clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-383
Number of pages13
JournalBreast cancer research and treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Breast cancer
  • HER2
  • Lapatinib
  • Pertuzumab
  • Trastuzumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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