Neoadjuvant Pertuzumab-containing Regimens Improve Pathologic Complete Response Rates in Stage II to III HER-2/neu-positive Breast Cancer: A Retrospective, Single Institution Experience

Clin Breast Cancer. 2018 Dec;18(6):e1283-e1288. doi: 10.1016/j.clbc.2018.07.008. Epub 2018 Jul 10.


Introduction: Several human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2)-targeted regimens are used to treat HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer (BC). The goal of this study was to retrospectively determine the pathologic complete response (pCR) rate for trastuzumab and pertuzumab (HP)-containing regimens compared with trastuzumab (H)-containing regimens for stage II to III HER2+ BC.

Patients and methods: Patients (n = 977) with stage II to III HER2+ BC who received neoadjuvant HER2-targeted therapy from 2005 to 2016 and underwent definitive breast and axillary lymph node surgery were identified. pCR was defined as ypT0/is, ypN0. Univariate/multivariate logistic regression and the χ2 test for comparing proportions was used for the statistical analysis.

Results: The pCR rate was higher for the HP group (n = 170) compared with the H group (n = 807): 59% versus 46% (odds ratio, 1.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.21-2.37; P = .0021). After adjustment for clinically important factors (age, date of diagnosis, stage, tumor grade, nodal status, hormone receptor [HR] status, menopausal status, and chemotherapy backbone) the adjusted odds ratio was 2.25 (95% confidence interval, 1.08-4.73; P = .032). In multivariate analysis, a significant predictor of pCR in both groups included HR status (HR-negative > HR-positive).

Conclusion: These results demonstrate that HP-containing regimens yield higher pCR rates compared with H-containing regimens in patients with stage II to III HER2+ BC in clinical practice regardless of chemotherapy backbone.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Neoadjuvant; Pathologic complete response; Pertuzumab; Trastuzumab.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trastuzumab / administration & dosage
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • pertuzumab
  • Trastuzumab