Mol Clin Oncol. 2013 Nov;1(6):995-1001. Epub 2013 Jul 29.
Extended trastuzumab therapy improves the survival of HER2-positive breast cancer patients following surgery and radiotherapy for brain metastases.
Brain metastases usually present late during the course of breast cancer and are associated with an unfavorable prognosis. It was previously demonstrated that the status of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2) may be altered in the time window between the emergence of the primary breast tumor and the development of metastases. The aim of this study was to compare the expression of ER, PR and HER2 in pathology samples of primary breast cancer and brain metastases in order to evaluate whether previously administered therapy was able to modify this status and determine whether biomarker alterations affect prognosis after the development of brain metastases. Data were collected from 62 patients who were initially diagnosed with breast cancer that had metastasized to the brain. The ER, PR and HER2 status of the samples from the primary tumors and the brain metastases was determined. Differences in the immunohistochemical profiles of ER, PR or HER2 between the primary tumors and the brain metastases in 17 patients (29.3%) were identified. The patients with HER2-positive brain metastases who received trastuzumab had no leptomeningeal metastases and exhibited a longer survival time after brain metastases compared to the HER2-positive patients who did not receive trastuzumab and the patients with HER2-negative brain metastases (P=0.0005). Our results suggested that the patients treated with trastuzumab following surgery and radiotherapy for brain metastases exhibited a better prognosis. Thus, the HER2 status in brain metastases requires re-evaluation and extended trastuzumab therapy is recommended after brain metastases.