ABSTRACT: A sequential treatment design was chosen in this trial to ensure complete resistance to single-agent non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor (AI) and trastuzumab both given as monotherapy before receiving the combination of a non-steroidal AI and trastuzumab. Key eligibility criteria included postmenopausal patients with advanced, measurable, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER-2)-positive disease (assessed by FISH, ratio (≥2)), hormone receptor (HR)-positive disease, and progression on prior treatment with a non-steroidal AI, e.g. letrozole or anastrozole, either in the adjuvant or in the advanced setting. Patients received standard dose trastuzumab monotherapy in step 1 and upon disease progression continued trastuzumab in combination with letrozole in step 2. The primary endpoint was clinical benefit rate (CBR) in step 2. Totally, 13 patients were enrolled. In step 1, six patients (46%) achieved CBR. Median time to progression (TTP) was 161 days (95% confidence interval (CI): 82-281). In step 2, CBR was observed in eight out of the 11 evaluable patients (73%), including one patient with partial response. Median TTP for all the 11 patients was 188 days (95% CI: 77-not reached). Results of this proof-of-concept trial suggest that complete resistance to both AI and trastuzumab can be overcome in a proportion of patients by combined treatment of AI and trastuzumab, as all patients served as their own control. Our results appear promising for a new treatment strategy that offers a chemotherapy-free option for at least a subset of patients with HR-positive, HER-2-positive breast cancer over a clinically relevant time period.
Endocrine Related Cancer 02/2011; 18(2):257-64. · 4.36 Impact Factor