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Neoadjuvant therapy for early-stage breast cancer: the clinical utility of pertuzumab

Authors Gollamudi J, Parvani J, Schiemann W, Vinayak S

Received 7 August 2015

Accepted for publication 23 November 2015

Published 18 February 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 21—31


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Kenan Onel

Jahnavi Gollamudi,1,* Jenny G Parvani,2,* William P Schiemann,3 Shaveta Vinayak3,4

1Department of Internal Medicine, 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, 3Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, 4Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA
*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Approximately 20% of breast cancer patients harbor tumors that overexpress human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2; also known as ErbB2), a receptor tyrosine kinase that belongs to the epidermal growth factor receptor family of receptor tyrosine kinases. HER2 amplification and hyperactivation drive the growth and survival of breast cancers through the aberrant activation of proto-oncogenic signaling systems, particularly the Ras/MAP kinase and PI3K/AKT pathways. Although HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer was originally considered to be a highly aggressive form of the disease, the clinical landscape of HER2+ breast cancers has literally been transformed by the approval of anti-HER2 agents for adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings. Indeed, pertuzumab is a novel monoclonal antibody that functions as an anti-HER2 agent by targeting the extracellular dimerization domain of the HER2 receptor; it is also the first drug to receive an accelerated approval by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in neoadjuvant settings in early-stage HER2+ breast cancer. Here, we review the molecular and cellular factors that contribute to the pathophysiology of HER2 in breast cancer, as well as summarize the landmark preclinical and clinical findings underlying the approval and use of pertuzumab in the neoadjuvant setting. Finally, the molecular mechanisms operant in mediating resistance to anti-HER2 agents, and perhaps to pertuzumab as well, will be discussed, as will the anticipated clinical impact and future directions of pertuzumab in breast cancer patients.

Keywords: breast cancer, HER2, monoclonal antibody, neoadjuvant, pertuzumab, receptor tyrosine kinase, signal transduction, trastuzumab

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