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Future Oncol. 2018 Mar;14(7):589-602. doi: 10.2217/fon-2017-0477. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

Trastuzumab emtansine: determining its role in management of HER2+ breast cancer.

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Yale Cancer Center, PO Box 208028, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Trastuzumab emtansine is an antibody-drug conjugate comprised of the anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody trastuzumab linked to DM1 (emtansine), a potent cytotoxic maytansinoid derivative, by a stable linker. This structure results in improved tumor-directed cytotoxicity in HER2+ breast cancer with reduced systemic toxicities, particularly the cardiac toxicities associated with single agent trastuzumab. Phase III trials have demonstrated improved progression-free and overall survival in heavily pretreated patients with advanced HER2+ breast cancer, with an acceptable toxicity profile. However, its role in first-line treatment is less clear. Ongoing studies continue to evaluate its role in neoadjuvant and adjuvant management of HER2+ breast cancer.


HER2; T-DM1; antibody–drug conjugate; breast cancer; lapatinib; pertuzumab; trastuzumab; trastuzumab emtansine

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