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Innovation Observatory > Reports > Drugs > Trastuzumab deruxtecan for HER2-positive metastatic or unresectable breast cancer

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Trastuzumab deruxtecan for HER2-positive metastatic or unresectable breast cancer


Cancer and Palliative Care

August 2019

Trastuzumab deruxtecan is in clinical development for the treatment of adults with HER2-positive, unresectable and/or metastatic breast cancer who have previously received anti-HER2 therapies. HER2-positive breast cancer is when the cancer tests positive for HER2 protein, which promotes the growth of cancer cells and tend to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer (stage IV) is when the cancer has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other organs in the body while unresectable means that the cancer cannot be treated by surgery. Treatment of the disease often involve the use of anti-HER2 therapies, chemotherapy or a combination of both.
Trastuzumab deruxtecan consists of an anti-HER2 therapy (trastuzumab) and a chemotherapy agent (deruxtecan) combined together as an antibody-drug conjugate. It has been developed such that the trastuzumab specifically binds to cancer cells that are HER2-positive which provides a targeted delivery of the cytotoxic deruxtecan inside cancer cells. This reduces systemic exposure to the chemotherapy with the potential to reduce associated toxicities and adverse effects. If licensed, trastuzumab deruxtecan will offer an additional treatment option for patients whose disease progressed despite previous treatment with other anti-HER2 therapies.

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