Incidence of adverse events with therapies targeting HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer: a literature review

Purpose

Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)–targeted therapies improve survival for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer but carry risks of hematologic, cardiopulmonary, gastro-hepatobiliary, and other adverse events (AEs). In this review, we describe published AE incidences for HER2-targeted therapies for metastatic breast cancer (mBC).

Methods

We searched PubMed and Embase to identify studies on HER2-targeted therapies in HER2-positive mBC, reporting on AEs of special interest, and published between January 1, 2009, and February 6, 2020. Treatment regimens were categorized into mutually exclusive therapy-based categories, with primary therapy determined by worldwide approval date.

Results

One hundred and fifty-three included articles assessed a combined 29,238 patients treated with the following therapy-based regimens: trastuzumab or biosimilars (78 studies), lapatinib (40), T-DM1 (ado-trastuzumab emtansine) (20), pertuzumab (14), neratinib (8), MM-302 (1), T-DXd (2), tucatinib (3), and pyrotinib (3). While direct comparisons of AE incidence are not warranted owing to study heterogeneity, proportions of patients experiencing any Grade 3 + AE ranged across therapy-based regimens from 39.4% (lapatinib) to 66.3% (neratinib). The most common hematologic AE of special interest, of any grade and regardless of causality, was leukopenia/white blood cells decreased [21.4% (T-DXd)-46.2% (pyrotinib)]. Cardiopulmonary AEs of special interest included interstitial lung disease [2.7% (trastuzumab)-5.2% (T-DXd)], pneumonitis [0.2% (lapatinib)-7.4% (trastuzumab)], and decreased ejection fraction [1% (T-DXd)-13.6% (trastuzumab)]. Gastro-hepatobiliary AEs of special interest included nausea [33.9% (trastuzumab)-78.3% (T-DXd)], vomiting [19.2% (T-DM1)-48.2% (T-DXd)], diarrhea [19.6% (T-DM1)-96.9% (pyrotinib)], and hepatotoxicity [5.9% (lapatinib)-53.6% (T-DM1)].

Conclusion

Differing AE profiles for anti-HER2 therapies should be considered when assessing benefit-risk profile for treatment options.