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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2018 Jun;169(2):333-340. doi: 10.1007/s10549-017-4653-2. Epub 2018 Feb 2.

Single-arm, neoadjuvant, phase II trial of pertuzumab and trastuzumab administered concomitantly with weekly paclitaxel followed by 5-fluoruracil, epirubicin, and cyclophosphamide (FEC) for stage I-III HER2-positive breast cancer.

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Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St., PO Box 208032, New Haven, CT, 05620, USA.
Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St., PO Box 208032, New Haven, CT, 05620, USA.



The purpose of this two-cohort Phase II trial was to estimate the pathologic complete response (pCR: ypT0/is ypN0) rate when trastuzumab plus pertuzumab are administered concurrently during both the taxane and anthracycline phases of paclitaxel and 5-fluorouracil/epirubicin/cyclophosphamide (FEC) neoadjuvant chemotherapy.


The pCR rates were assessed separately in hormone receptor (HR) positive and negative cases following Simon's two-stage design, aiming to detect a 20% absolute improvement in pCR rates from 50 to 70 and 70 to 90% in the HR-positive and HR-`negative cohorts, respectively.


The HR-negative cohort completed full accrual of 26 patients; pCR rate was 80% (95% CI 60-91%). The HR+ cohort was closed early after 24 patients due to lower than expected pCR rate of 26% (95% CI 13-46%) at interim analysis. Overall, 44% of patients (n = 22/50) experienced grade 3/4 adverse events. The most common were neutropenia (n = 10) and diarrhea (n = 7). There was no symptomatic heart failure, but 28% (n = 14) had ≥ 10% asymptomatic decrease in LVEF; in one patient, LVEF decreased to < 50%. Cardiac functions returned to baseline by the next assessment in 57% (8/14) of cases.


Eighty percent of HR-negative, HER2-positive breast cancers achieve pCR with paclitaxel/FEC neoadjuvant chemotherapy administered concomitantly with pertuzumab and trastuzumab. These results are similar to pCR rates seen in trials using HER2-targeted therapy during the taxane phase only of sequential taxane-anthracycline regimens and suggest that we have reached a therapeutic plateau with HER2-targeted therapies combined with chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting.


Breast cancer; HER-2-positive; Neoadjuvant therapy; Pathological complete response; Pertuzumab; Trastuzumab

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