“Unprecedented” improvement for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer patients

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress, held in Madrid, Spain, was the source of many announcements relevant to patients and their treatment options. Among the most anticipated ones was about HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.




HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer

About 1 in 4 breast cancer cases are estimated to be HER2-positive.

During a Presidential Symposium in the conference, researchers and the industry were eager to hear the results of the trial known as “CLEOPATRA”. As the lead researcher was beginning her speech, the anticipation in the standing room-only auditorium mounted: the results have been expected to be positive for women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, and delegates could not wait for this to be confirmed.


Significantly improved overall survival

The trial was on the combination of 3 agents: pertuzumab, trastuzumab and docetaxel. The hope had been that, despite the challenges of metastatic disease for breast cancer patients, such a combination of agents would benefit their long term survival.

Indeed, patients with advanced HER-2 breast cancer receiving this combination benefited more compared to trastuzumab & docetaxel only.

The benefit was reported in terms of:

  • Overall survival, improved by 15.7 months, resulting in a median overall survival of 56.5 months; this is considered “unprecedented in first-line treatment” of these patients.
  • Time period without progression of the disease, improved by 6.4 months.


Lead researcher: “phenomenal results”

The lead researcher from the Washington Hospital Center was clearly enthusiastic: "The results, I think, are phenomenal", she said. It is important to note that as reported in the session’s notes, she represented a team of 14 experts from 7 countries.


ESMO 2014: 350O_PR - Final overall survival (OS) analysis from the CLEOPATRA study of first-line (1L) pertuzumab (Ptz), trastuzumab (T), and docetaxel (D) in patients (pts) with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC): S. Swain (Washington, United States of America)  S. Kim (Seoul, Korea)  J. Cortes (Barcelona, Spain)  J. Ro (Goyang, Korea) V. Semiglazov (St. Petersburg, Russian Federation)  M. Campone (St Herblain, France)  E. Ciruelos (Madrid, Spain)  J. Ferrero (Nice CEDEX, France) A. Schneeweiss (Heidelberg, Germany)  S. Heeson (Welwyn, United Kingdom)  E. Clark (Welwyn, United Kingdom)  G. Ross (Welwyn, United Kingdom) M. Benyunes (South San Francisco, United States of America)  J. Baselga (New York, United States of America)

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