Pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and standard anthracycline- and taxane-based chemotherapy for the neoadjuvant treatment of patients with HER2-positive localized breast cancer (BERENICE): a phase II, open-label, multicenter, multinational cardiac safety study

Ann Oncol. 2018 Mar 1;29(3):646-653. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdx773.


Background: Anti-HER2 therapies are associated with a risk of increased cardiac toxicity, particularly when part of anthracycline-containing regimens. We report cardiac safety of pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant treatment of HER2-positive early breast cancer.

Patients and methods: BERENICE (NCT02132949) is a nonrandomized, phase II, open-label, multicenter, multinational study in patients with normal cardiac function. In the neoadjuvant period, cohort A patients received four cycles of dose-dense doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide, then 12 doses of standard paclitaxel plus four standard trastuzumab and pertuzumab cycles. Cohort B patients received four standard fluorouracil/epirubicin/cyclophosphamide cycles, then four docetaxel cycles with four standard trastuzumab and pertuzumab cycles. The primary end point was cardiac safety during neoadjuvant treatment, assessed by the incidence of New York Heart Association class III/IV heart failure and of left ventricular ejection fraction declines (≥10 percentage-points from baseline and to a value of <50%). The main efficacy end point was pathologic complete response (pCR, ypT0/is ypN0). Results are descriptive.

Results: Safety populations were 199 and 198 patients in cohorts A and B, respectively. Three patients [1.5%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.31% to 4.34%] in cohort A experienced four New York Heart Association class III/IV heart failure events. Thirteen patients (6.5%; 95% CI 3.5% to 10.9%) in cohort A and four (2.0%; 95% CI 0.6% to 5.1%) in cohort B experienced at least one left ventricular ejection fraction decline. No new safety signals were identified. pCR rates were 61.8% and 60.7% in cohorts A and B, respectively. The highest pCR rates were in the HER2-enriched PAM50 subtype (75.0% and 73.7%, respectively).

Conclusion: Treatment with pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and common anthracycline-containing regimens for the neoadjuvant treatment of early breast cancer resulted in cardiac and general safety profiles, and pCR rates, consistent with prior studies with pertuzumab.

Clinical trial information: NCT02132949.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthracyclines / administration & dosage
  • Anthracyclines / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Cardiotoxicity / epidemiology*
  • Cardiotoxicity / etiology
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / adverse effects*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Cyclophosphamide / adverse effects
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / methods
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage
  • Taxoids / adverse effects
  • Trastuzumab / administration & dosage
  • Trastuzumab / adverse effects


  • Anthracyclines
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Taxoids
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • pertuzumab
  • Trastuzumab
  • Paclitaxel

Associated data