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Breast Care (Basel). 2014 Apr;9(4):255-60. doi: 10.1159/000365950.

Cardiac safety of (neo)adjuvant trastuzumab in the community setting: a single-center experience.

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Division of Medical Oncology, Instituto do Câncer do Estado de São Paulo, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.



Trastuzumab improves the survival of patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer (BC). The incidence and long-term impact of trastuzumab-related cardiotoxicity in the community setting is of great clinical importance.


Patients with HER2-positive BC treated with (neo)adjuvant trastuzumab were retrospectively evaluated. Cardiotoxicity was defined as cardiac death or absolute decrease in left ventricular ejection fraction of at least 10% to a value less than 50%, or symptomatic heart failure.


We evaluated 237 patients: median age 53 years (range 27-83 years). 40.5% of these patients had received neoadjuvant and 59.5% adjuvant chemotherapy. The majority (83.9%) were treated with an anthracycline-based regimen. Median exposure to trastuzumab was 8 months (range 2-12 months). Cardiotoxicity was diagnosed in 20.2%, but symptoms only occurred in 3.8%. 41.6% recovered cardiac function. None of the risk factors were associated with cardiotoxicity.


The incidence of trastuzumab-related cardiotoxicity found in this study was slightly higher than those reported in randomized clinical trials. Nevertheless, most patients were asymptomatic. We describe the cardiac outcomes of a non-selected population, which possibly reflects those found in the 'real world'. The risks versus benefits of trastuzumab use remain in favor of treatment, but cardiotoxicity should be monitored.


Adjuvant therapy; Breast cancer; Cardiotoxicity; Trastuzumab

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