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Trastuzumab Tied to Disease-Free Survival at Four Years

Improved outcomes noted among breast cancer patients who crossed over to treatment cohort

FRIDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- In women with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive early breast cancer, treatment with trastuzumab for one year after chemotherapy is associated with significant disease-free survival at a four-year follow-up, according to a study published online Feb. 25 in The Lancet Oncology.

Luca Gianni, M.D., of the San Raffaele Institute in Milan, Italy, and colleagues examined the outcomes of women with HER2-positive early breast cancer who were enrolled in the Herceptin Adjuvant trial after a median follow-up of four years. Disease-free survival and overall survival were evaluated in 1,698 women randomly assigned to an observation group, and to 1,703 women assigned to a one-year trastuzumab group. Adjuvant treatment with trastuzumab for one year after chemotherapy was seen to improve disease-free and overall survival at one- and two-year follow-up, and 885 event-free patients from the observation group crossed over to receive trastuzumab an average of 22.8 months after randomization.

The researchers found that, at the four-year follow-up, the rate of disease-free survival was significantly greater among the women who had received trastuzumab for one year compared to the observation group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.76). Analysis of overall survival, however, revealed no significant difference in the risk of death between the groups. Women in the selective-crossover group had fewer disease-free survival events than those who remained in the observation group (HR, 0.68).

"Adjuvant trastuzumab given sequentially to chemotherapy is associated with significant and persisting benefits, and remains an appropriate treatment modality in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer," the authors write.

The study received funding from F. Hoffmann-La Roche. Several authors disclosed financial ties with Roche Pharmaceuticals.

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