Trastuzumab emtansine in advanced human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive breast cancer.
Introduction: Ado- trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) is a human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-targeted antibody-drug conjugate composed of trastuzumab, a stable linker (MCC), and the cytotoxic agent DM1 (derivative of maytansine; mertansine). T-DM1 retains the mechanisms of action of trastuzumab, but also acts as a, selectively delivered, tubulin inhibitor. Following antigen-mediated binding to the tumor cell, T-DM1 is endocytosed and intracellularly catabolized resulting in the release of its cytotoxic moiety.
Areas covered: T-DM1 has completed Phase III development and compared favorably with the lapatinib/capecitabine combination with a superior response rate (objective response rate [ORR]) and duration of response, longer duration of disease control (progression-free survival [PFS]), prolonged overall survival and improved tolerability and quality of life in patients with prior treatment with trastuzumab and a taxane. In a separate Phase III, T-DM1 was compared with any other chosen regimen in patients who had at least received two prior HER2-directed therapies. T-DM1 nearly doubled PFS.
Expert opinion: T-DM1 (Kadcyla) has become the treatment of choice in second-line and beyond for patients with advanced HER2-expressing breast cancer.