Research Summary: Trastuzumab in the Adjuvant Treatment of HER2-Positive Early Breast Cancer Patients: A Meta-Analysis of Published Randomized Controlled Trials



Adjuvant trastuzumab therapy has yielded conflicting results for overall survival, concerns about central nervous system (CNS) metastasis, and questions about optimal schedule. Therefore, we carried out a meta-analysis to assess the benefits of concurrent or sequential trastuzumab with adjuvant chemotherapy for early breast cancer patients with HER2-positive tumors.


Computerized and manual searches were performed to identify randomized clinical trials comparing adjuvant chemotherapy with or without trastuzumab in HER2-positive early breast cancer patients. Odds ratios were used to estimate the association between the addition of trastuzumab to adjuvant chemotherapy and various survival outcomes. The fixed-effects or random-effects model was used to combine data.


With six eligible studies identified, this analysis demonstrated that patients with HER2-positive breast cancer derived benefit in disease-free survival, overall survival, locoregional recurrence and distant recurrence (all P<0.001) from the addition of trastuzumab to adjuvant chemotherapy, whereas trastuzumab did worse in CNS recurrence as compared to the control group (P = 0.018). Furthermore, concomitant use of trastuzumab significantly lowered the hazard of death (P<0.001) but bore a higher incidence of CNS recurrence (P = 0.010), while statistical significance failed to be discerned for either overall survival (P = 0.069) or CNS metastasis (P = 0.374) between the sequential and observation arms.


This analysis verifies the efficacy of trastuzumab in the adjuvant setting. Additionally, our findings indirectly corroborate the superiority of concurrent trastuzumab to sequential use and also illuminate that prolonged survival is the possible reason for the higher incidence of CNS with trastuzumab versus observation.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 9-June-2011

Author(s): Yin W., Jiang Y., Shen Z., Shao Z., Lu J.


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