Lapatinib plus capecitabine resolved human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive brain metastases

Stefan Glück, Aurelio Castrellon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Brain metastases affect 25%-30% of women with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive metastatic breast cancer and are associated with a high burden of disease and poor prognosis. A 55-year-old woman presented with HER2-positive, hormone receptor-positive, locally advanced infiltrating ductal carcinoma. She received 4 cycles of neoadjuvant docetaxel (75 mg/m2) plus trastuzumab (6 mg/kg) on a 21-day cycle, resulting in complete pathologic response at the time of surgery. Trastuzumab (6 mg/kg every 21 days) plus anastrozole (1 mg/d) was continued for 1 year. Two years later, the patient progressed with pulmonary nodules and a large pleural effusion. Computed tomography and positron emission tomography revealed multiple lesions in the liver and thoracic spine but no evidence of brain metastases. The patient received weekly trastuzumab (2 mg/kg), paclitaxel (80 mg/m2), and carboplatin (area under the curve 2) for 6 months; her symptoms resolved and her disease stabilized. Seven months later, she developed diplopia and gait difficulties, and magnetic resonance imaging revealed multiple brain lesions. Whole-brain radiotherapy (30 Gy in 10 fractions) was delivered with excellent clinical results. The patient remained progression free without symptoms for approximately 3 months. When she developed central nervous system symptoms, she was treated with lapatinib (1250 mg/d continuously) plus capecitabine (2000 mg/m2 given on days 1-14 of a 21-day cycle). Four months later, a brain computed tomography performed shortly before her death from progressive systemic disease revealed near complete resolution of brain metastases. Lapatinib plus capecitabine seems to have clinical activity in HER2-positive brain metastases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-590
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of therapeutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009


  • Breast cancer
  • Central nervous system
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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