Trastuzumab, the standard treatment for HER-2 positive breast cancer, may be associated with access restrictions in countries with severe economic constraints. This study aimed to compare intravenous (IVT) and subcutaneous trastuzumab (SCT) forms and to explore the transferability of value propositions to Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Areas covered: After screening 376 abstracts, 42 articles were included in the final review. Statistical test results were rarely reported; therefore, the similarity of adverse event profiles of SCT and IVT could not be validated. Potential time savings for patients due to subcutaneous administration was not validated in CEE settings, where patient's waiting time for treatment administration is fairly long. Standard patient reported outcome instruments were rarely used to confirm the preference of patients/health care professionals to SCT over IVT. Moreover, feasibility of self/home administration of SCT, especially in case of concomitant intravenous chemotherapies, was not considered. Cost comparisons considered neither the patent expiry of IVT nor the incremental cost of potential differences in adverse events. Expert commentary: Potential benefits of SCT were not tested by any studies in CEE countries. The main policy objective should be to facilitate the uptake of multisource biologicals in lower income countries with access barriers.
Keywords: Breast cancer; intravenous; subcutaneous; transferability; trastuzumab.