Purpose: Patients with human EGFR2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer have a high incidence of brain metastases, and trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) is often employed. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is frequently utilized, and case series report increased toxicity with combination SRS and T-DM1. We provide an update of our experience of T-DM1 and SRS evaluating risk of clinically significant radionecrosis (CSRN) and propose a mechanism for this toxicity.
Experimental design: Patients with breast cancer who were ≤45 years regardless of HER2 status or had HER2+ disease regardless of age and underwent SRS for brain metastases were included. Rates of CSRN, SRS data, and details of T-DM1 administration were recorded. Proliferation and astrocytic swelling studies were performed to elucidate mechanisms of toxicity.
Results: A total of 45 patients were identified; 66.7% were HER2+, and 60.0% were ≤ 45 years old. Of the entire cohort, 10 patients (22.2%) developed CSRN, 9 of whom received T-DM1. CSRN was observed in 39.1% of patients who received T-DM1 versus 4.5% of patients who did not. Receipt of T-DM1 was associated with a 13.5-fold (P = 0.02) increase in CSRN. Mechanistically, T-DM1 targeted reactive astrocytes and increased radiation-induced cytotoxicity and astrocytic swelling via upregulation of Aquaporin-4 (Aqp4).
Conclusions: The strong correlation between development of CSRN after SRS and T-DM1 warrants prospective studies controlling for variations in timing of T-DM1 and radiation dosing to further stratify risk of CSRN and mitigate toxicity. Until such studies are completed, we advise caution in the combination of SRS and T-DM1.
©2019 American Association for Cancer Research.