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Br J Cancer. 2012 Sep 25;107(7):1075-82. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2012.346. Epub 2012 Aug 23.

Brain metastases in Asian HER2-positive breast cancer patients: anti-HER2 treatments and their impact on survival.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore, 11 Hospital Drive, Singapore 169610, Singapore.



In Asia, large-scale studies on anti-HER2 treatment in HER2-positive breast cancer patients with brain metastases are limited. We studied the treatment patterns of these patients in Asia to evaluate the impact of anti-HER2 treatment on the time to occurrence of brain metastases (TTBM) and survival after brain metastasis (BM).


A retrospective study of HER2-positive breast cancer patients diagnosed with BM between January 2006 and December 2008 in six Asian countries was conducted. Demographics, tumour characteristics, treatment details, and events dates were collected from medical records.


Data from 280 patients were analysed. Before BM, 63% received anti-HER2 treatment. These patients had significantly longer TTBM than those without anti-HER2 treatment (median 33 vs 19 months; P<0.002). After BM, 93% received radiotherapy, 57% received chemotherapy, and 41% received anti-HER2 treatment (trastuzumab and/or lapatinib). Use of both anti-HER2 agents, primarily sequentially, after BM demonstrated the longest survival after BM and was associated with a significant survival benefit over no anti-HER2 treatment (median 26 vs 6 months; hazard ratio 0.37; 95% CI 0.19-0.72).


Anti-HER2 treatment before BM was associated with longer TTBM. Anti-HER2 treatment after BM was associated with a survival benefit, especially when both trastuzumab and lapatinib were utilised.

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