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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Jun;127(3):841-4. doi: 10.1007/s10549-011-1417-2. Epub 2011 Mar 3.

Complete response in HER2+ leptomeningeal carcinomatosis from breast cancer with intrathecal trastuzumab.

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Medical Oncology Department, Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa Francisco Gentil, Rua Professor Lima Basto, 1099-023 Lisbon, Portugal.


Trastuzumab, a monoclonal antibody against the HER2 receptor, is a major breakthrough in the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer. However, its high molecular weight precludes it from crossing the intact blood-brain barrier, making the central nervous system a sanctuary to HER2+ breast cancer metastases. We prospectively assessed functional outcome and toxicity of administering trastuzumab directly into the cerebrospinal fluid of a patient with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis (LC) and brain metastases from HER2+ breast cancer that had already been treated with other intrathecal chemotherapy, with no benefit. Upon signed informed consent, weekly lumbar puncture with administration of trastuzumab 25 mg was begun to a 44 year-old women with metastatic breast cancer (lymph node, bone, lung, and liver involvement) previously treated with tamoxifen, letrozole, anthracyclines, taxanes, capecitabine, intravenous trastuzumab, and lapatinib. She received 67 weekly administrations of intrathecal trastuzumab with marked clinical improvement and no adverse events. She survived 27 months after LC diagnosis. A complete leptomeningeal response, with no evidence of leptomeningeal metastasis at necropsy, was achieved. We believe that intrathecal trastuzumab administration should be prospectively evaluated to confirm clinical activity and optimize dose, schedule, and duration of treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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