Metastatic HER-2-positive salivary gland carcinoma treated with trastuzumab and a taxane: a series of six patients

Acta Clin Belg. 2016 Dec;71(6):383-388. doi: 10.1080/17843286.2016.1173940. Epub 2016 May 30.


Metastatic salivary gland carcinoma is a rare malignancy. A subset of these tumors overexpresses the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), which is considered a poor prognostic marker. Targeted therapy with the monoclonal antibody trastuzumab can be a treatment option in these patients. We describe six cases of metastatic salivary gland carcinoma treated with trastuzumab in combination with a taxane. Three of these patients had salivary duct cancer, two had mucoepidermoid carcinoma and one patient was treated for acinic cell carcinoma. The therapy was well tolerated. We observed five partial responses and a median progression free survival of 10.8 months, which compares favorably with the reported outcome of combination chemotherapy. One patient achieved a complete and durable remission. When HER-2 and androgen receptor were co-expressed, trastuzumab-based treatment appeared to be more active than androgen deprivation in our experience.

Keywords: HER-2; Salivary gland tumor; Trastuzumab.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bridged-Ring Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Salivary Glands / diagnostic imaging*
  • Salivary Glands / metabolism
  • Taxoids / therapeutic use*
  • Trastuzumab / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Bridged-Ring Compounds
  • Taxoids
  • taxane
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Trastuzumab