Patients with HER2-positive Early Breast Cancer Receiving Adjuvant Trastuzumab: Clinicopathological Features, Efficacy, and Factors Affecting Survival

  • Ulas, Arife (Department of Medical Oncology, Ankara Ataturk Training and Research Hospital) ;
  • Kos, Tugba (Faculty of Medicine, Duzce University) ;
  • Avci, Nilufer (Balikesir Government Hospital) ;
  • Cubukcu, Erdem (Ali Osman Sonmez Oncology Hospital) ;
  • Olmez, Omer Fatih (Ali Osman Sonmez Oncology Hospital) ;
  • Bulut, Nilufer (Ali Osman Sonmez Oncology Hospital) ;
  • Degirmenci, Mustafa (Ali Osman Sonmez Oncology Hospital)
  • Published : 2015.03.09


Background: The aim of the present study was to evaluate clinicopathological characteristics of our early stage breast cancer patients who are epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) overexpressed/amplified (HER2+), the efficacy of trastuzumab treatment and survival results. Materials and Methods: Patients with HER2-positive early stage breast cancer receiving adjuvant trastuzumab were investigated retrospectively. Clinicopathological features of 210 patients and treatment outcome were analysed. To evaluate survival rates, the Kaplan-Meier method was used. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted with the Cox regression model. Results: Mean age of the patients was 51.8, 71.9% being postmenopausal. Some 37.6% of patients were node negative, and 31% had T1 tumor size and 52.4% were positive for estrogen receptor. Of 210 patients, 89.5% completed planned 52 weeks adjuvant trastuzumab treatment. The median follow up was 27.5 months (6.0-86.0). Relapse free survival (RFS) was 68.0 months (95% CI: 62.1-74.0) and overall survival (OS) was 74.8 months (95% CI: 69.5-80.1). The 3 year OS for all patients was 92.0% and RFS was 79.6%. During follow up, relapse was detected at the rate of 14.3%. Trastuzumab associated cardiotoxicity was found at the rate of 3.3%. In univariate analyses, larger tumor size and grade III were significantly associated (p<0.05) with RFS. Multivariate analyses of covariates displaying p<0.05 identified grade III as an independent prognostic factor. Conclusions: In the present study, it was established that trastuzumab had a satisfactory safety profile and treatment efficacy as in other clinical studies and that among clinicopathological factors evaluated, only being grade 3 had a significant effect on RFS. The occurrence of relapse with adjuvant trastuzumab makes it necessary to identify molecular predictors, which will define this group better and help explain resistance to anti HER2 based therapies.


Adjuvant chemotherapy;trastuzumab;HER2;breast cancer;grade III


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