Neoadjuvant chemotherapy with biosimilar trastuzumab in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 overexpressed non-metastatic breast cancer: patterns of use and clinical outcomes in India

22 Mar 2021
Anjana Joel, Josh Thomas Georgy, Divya Bala Thumaty, Ajoy Oommen John, Raju Titus Chacko, Grace Rebekah, Elanthenral Sigamani, Jagan Chandramohan, Marie Therese Manipadam, Anish Jacob Cherian, Deepak Thomas Abraham, Paul Mazhuvanchary Jacob, Patricia Sebastian, Selvamani Backianathan, Ashish Singh

Background: Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer is associated with poor prognosis and access to anti-HER2 treatment is still a challenge in lower-middle income countries. The availability of the biosimilar trastuzumab has improved access by lowering the costs. We report the pattern of use of neoadjuvant ± adjuvant trastuzumab and outcomes in patients with HER2-positive non-metastatic breast cancer treated with regimens incorporating shorter durations of therapy and the use of the biosimilar trastuzumab compared to the innovator.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of patients with non-metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant ± adjuvant trastuzumab (innovator (n = 34 (33%)) and biosimilar (n = 70 (67%)) manufactured by Biocon Biologics) with chemotherapy. Information regarding chemotherapy regimens, duration of trastuzumab use (≤12 weeks and >12 weeks), pathological response (Miller Payne grade), disease free survival (DFS), overall survival (OS) and safety data were collected from electronic medical records.

Results: A total of 135 patients were analysed with a median age of 51 years (range: 23–82); of these, 57% were postmenopausal, 31.8% were hormone receptor positive and 62.9% had stage III disease. The overall pathological complete response (p-CR) in both breast and axilla increased to 37.6% in patients treated with trastuzumab preoperatively as compared to 22.2% in patients who did not receive any trastuzumab. Patients receiving innovator trastuzumab and biosimilar trastuzumab showed a p-CR of 28.5% and 41.7%, respectively. At a median follow-up of 42 months (range: 3–114), there were 18 relapses and 11 deaths. The 3-year DFS was 87.1% and OS was 92.2%. Cardiac dysfunction developed in 4 of 78 (5.1%) evaluable patients.

Conclusion: Access to anti-HER2 therapy in the treatment of non-metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer in resource-constrained settings has improved significantly with the availability of the biosimilar trastuzumab. Imbalances in patient profiles at baseline in routine clinical practice led to inconclusive outcomes of ≤12 weeks versus >12 weeks trastuzumab treatment. However, on the basis of historical data, patients could be offered shorter duration of trastuzumab when a standard 1-year treatment of adjuvant trastuzumab is not feasible in resource-constrained settings. The p-CR using the biosimilar trastuzumab in neoadjuvant treatment has been observed to be comparable to the innovator trastuzumab.