Background: Trastuzumab deruxtecan (DS-8201) is an antibody-drug conjugate consisting of an anti-HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) antibody, a cleavable tetrapeptide-based linker, and a cytotoxic topoisomerase I inhibitor. The drug may have efficacy in patients with HER2-positive advanced gastric cancer.
Methods: In an open-label, randomized, phase 2 trial, we evaluated trastuzumab deruxtecan as compared with chemotherapy in patients with HER2-positive advanced gastric cancer. Patients with centrally confirmed HER2-positive gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma that had progressed while they were receiving at least two previous therapies, including trastuzumab, were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to receive trastuzumab deruxtecan (6.4 mg per kilogram of body weight every 3 weeks) or physician's choice of chemotherapy. The primary end point was the objective response, according to independent central review. Secondary end points included overall survival, response duration, progression-free survival, confirmed response (response persisting ≥4 weeks), and safety.
Results: Of 187 treated patients, 125 received trastuzumab deruxtecan and 62 chemotherapy (55 received irinotecan and 7 paclitaxel). An objective response was reported in 51% of the patients in the trastuzumab deruxtecan group, as compared with 14% of those in the physician's choice group (P<0.001). Overall survival was longer with trastuzumab deruxtecan than with chemotherapy (median, 12.5 vs. 8.4 months; hazard ratio for death, 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.39 to 0.88; P = 0.01, which crossed the prespecified O'Brien-Fleming boundary [0.0202 on the basis of number of deaths]). The most common adverse events of grade 3 or higher were a decreased neutrophil count (in 51% of the trastuzumab deruxtecan group and 24% of the physician's choice group), anemia (38% and 23%, respectively), and decreased white-cell count (21% and 11%). A total of 12 patients had trastuzumab deruxtecan-related interstitial lung disease or pneumonitis (grade 1 or 2 in 9 patients and grade 3 or 4 in 3), as adjudicated by an independent committee. One drug-related death (due to pneumonia) was noted in the trastuzumab deruxtecan group; no drug-related deaths occurred in the physician's choice group.
Conclusions: Therapy with trastuzumab deruxtecan led to significant improvements in response and overall survival, as compared with standard therapies, among patients with HER2-positive gastric cancer. Myelosuppression and interstitial lung disease were the notable toxic effects. (Funded by Daiichi Sankyo; DESTINY-Gastric01 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03329690.).
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