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Adjuvant systemic therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer

Author
Harold Burstein, MD, PhD
Section Editor
Daniel F Hayes, MD
Deputy Editor
Sadhna R Vora, MD

INTRODUCTION

Globally, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in females. In the United States, breast cancer is the most common female cancer, the second most common cause of cancer death in women, and the main cause of death in women ages 40 to 49 years. The lifetime probability of developing invasive breast cancer is one in eight.

Breast cancer is a heterogeneous, phenotypically diverse disease composed of several biologic subtypes that have distinct behavior. Amplification or overexpression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) oncogene is present in approximately 18 to 20 percent of primary invasive breast cancers. Women with early-stage breast cancer that meet criteria for HER2 positivity are treated with chemotherapy and trastuzumab as adjuvant treatment.

This topic review will cover the use of adjuvant trastuzumab plus chemotherapy in patients with HER2-positive early stage breast cancer (stage I to III (table 1)). Principles of testing for HER2 expression on breast cancer tumor tissue is discussed elsewhere, as is adjuvant chemotherapy in other populations.

(See "HER2 and predicting response to therapy in breast cancer".)

(See "Overview of the treatment of newly diagnosed, non-metastatic breast cancer".)

                     

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Tue Oct 11 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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