Trastuzumab deruxtecan (DS-8201) in patients with HER2-expressing metastatic colorectal cancer (DESTINY-CRC01): a multicentre, open-label, phase 2 trial

Lancet Oncol. 2021 Jun;22(6):779-789. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00086-3. Epub 2021 May 4.


Background: HER2 amplification has been identified in 2-3% of patients with colorectal cancer, although there are currently no approved HER2-targeted therapies for colorectal cancer. We aimed to study the antitumour activity and safety of trastuzumab deruxtecan (an antibody-drug conjugate of humanised anti-HER2 antibody with topoisomerase I inhibitor payloads) in patients with HER2-expressing metastatic colorectal cancer.

Methods: DESTINY-CRC01 is an open-label, phase 2 study that recruited patients from 25 clinics and hospitals in Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the USA. Eligible patients had centrally confirmed HER2-expressing metastatic colorectal cancer that had progressed on two or more previous regimens (HER2-targeted therapies other than trastuzumab deruxtecan permitted), were aged 18 years or older (≥20 years in Japan), had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score of 0 or 1, and had RAS and BRAFV600E wild-type tumours. Patients were enrolled into one of three cohorts by HER2 expression level: cohort A (HER2-positive, immunohistochemistry [IHC] 3+ or IHC2+ and in-situ hybridisation [ISH]-positive), cohort B (IHC2+ and ISH-negative), or cohort C (IHC1+). Patients received 6·4 mg/kg trastuzumab deruxtecan intravenously every 3 weeks until disease progression, unacceptable adverse events, withdrawal of consent, or death. The primary endpoint was confirmed objective response rate in cohort A by independent central review which was assessed in the full analysis set and safety was assessed in the safety analysis set. Both the full analysis set and the safety analysis set included all patients who received one or more doses of trastuzumab deruxtecan. This ongoing trial is registered with, number NCT03384940.

Findings: Between Feb 23, 2018, and July 3, 2019, 78 patients were enrolled in the study (53 in cohort A, seven in cohort B, and 18 in cohort C), all of whom received at least one dose of study drug. For the 53 (68%) patients with HER2-positive tumours (cohort A), a confirmed objective response was reported in 24 (45·3%, 95% CI 31·6-59·6) patients after a median follow-up of 27·1 weeks (IQR 19·3-40·1). Grade 3 or worse treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred in at least 10% of all participants were decreased neutrophil count (17 [22%] of 78) and anaemia (11 [14%]). Five patients (6%) had adjudicated interstitial lung disease or pneumonitis (two grade 2; one grade 3; two grade 5, the only treatment-related deaths).

Interpretation: Trastuzumab deruxtecan showed promising and durable activity in HER2-positive metastatic colorectal cancer refractory to standard treatment, with a safety profile consistent with that reported in previous trastuzumab deruxtecan trials. Interstitial lung disease and pneumonitis are important risks requiring careful monitoring and prompt intervention.

Funding: Daiichi Sankyo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Camptothecin / administration & dosage
  • Camptothecin / adverse effects
  • Camptothecin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates / administration & dosage*
  • Immunoconjugates / adverse effects
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Maximum Tolerated Dose
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Trastuzumab / administration & dosage*
  • Trastuzumab / adverse effects


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Immunoconjugates
  • trastuzumab deruxtecan
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Trastuzumab
  • Camptothecin

Associated data