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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Sep;135(2):347-54. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-2157-7. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

Risk of rash with the anti-HER2 dimerization antibody pertuzumab: a meta-analysis.

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Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5, Canada.


Pertuzumab is a novel humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) dimerization. It was recently approved by the US FDA for use in combination with trastuzumab and docetaxel for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who have not received prior anti-HER2 therapy or chemotherapy for metastatic disease. Rash is inconsistently reported as a common adverse event in most clinical trials of pertuzumab, at varying incidences. In this study, we have investigated the overall incidence and risk of rash with pertuzumab. Relevant studies were identified from the PubMed database (1966-2012), abstracts presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual conference (2004-2011), and Web of Science database (1998-2012). Eligible studies were prospective phase II-III clinical trials using pertuzumab in cancer patients. Incidence, relative risk (RR), and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using random-effects or fixed-effects models based on the heterogeneity of included studies. Data from a total of 1,726 patients (pertuzumab, n = 1,157; controls, n = 569) with breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers from eight clinical trials were included for analysis. The incidence of all-grade and high-grade rash with pertuzumab were 24.6 % (95 % CI 19.3-30.8 %) and 1.1 % (95 % CI 0.5-2.2 %), respectively. The risk varied with tumor types, as patients with prostate cancer had a lower incidence of rash (13.2 %; 95 % CI 8.0-21.1 %) than those with breast, ovarian, fallopian tube, and peritoneal cancer (P = 0.001). Overall, pertuzumab significantly increased the risk of rash in comparison with controls (RR 1.53; 95 % CI 1.12-2.09; P = 0.007). Pertuzumab is associated with a significant risk of rash, and the incidence varies among different tumor types. Prevention, early recognition, and appropriate treatment of this rash may lead to improvement in patient quality of life, adherence to therapy, and possibly optimize clinical outcomes.

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