Tucatinib versus placebo added to trastuzumab and capecitabine for patients with pretreated HER2+ metastatic breast cancer with and without brain metastases (HER2CLIMB): final overall survival analysis

Ann Oncol. 2022 Mar;33(3):321-329. doi: 10.1016/j.annonc.2021.12.005. Epub 2021 Dec 23.


Background: In the primary analysis of the HER2CLIMB trial, tucatinib added to trastuzumab and capecitabine significantly improved overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive (HER2+) metastatic breast cancer. We report efficacy and safety outcomes, including the final OS and safety outcomes from follow-up in HER2CLIMB.

Patients and methods: HER2CLIMB is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in patients with locally advanced or metastatic HER2+ breast cancer, including patients with brain metastases. Patients were randomized 2 : 1 to receive tucatinib or placebo, in combination with trastuzumab and capecitabine. After the primary analysis (median follow-up of 14 months), the protocol was amended to allow for unblinding sites to treatment assignment and cross-over from the placebo combination to the tucatinib combination. Protocol prespecified descriptive analyses of OS, PFS (by investigator assessment), and safety were carried out at ∼2 years from the last patient randomized.

Results: Six hundred and twelve patients enrolled in the HER2CLIMB trial. At a median OS follow-up of 29.6 months, median duration of OS was 24.7 months for the tucatinib combination group versus 19.2 months for the placebo combination group [hazard ratio (HR) for death: 0.73, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.59-0.90, P = 0.004] and OS at 2 years was 51% and 40%, respectively. HRs for OS across prespecified subgroups were consistent with the HR for the overall study population. Median duration of PFS was 7.6 months for the tucatinib combination group versus 4.9 months for the placebo combination group (HR for progression or death: 0.57, 95% CI: 0.47-0.70, P < 0.00001) and PFS at 1 year was 29% and 14%, respectively. The tucatinib combination was well tolerated with a low rate of discontinuation due to adverse events.

Conclusions: With additional follow-up, the tucatinib combination provided a clinically meaningful survival benefit for patients with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer.

Keywords: brain metastases; capecitabine; human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2); metastatic breast cancer; trastuzumab; tucatinib.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Brain Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Brain Neoplasms* / secondary
  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Capecitabine
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oxazoles
  • Pyridines
  • Quinazolines
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Survival Analysis
  • Trastuzumab


  • Oxazoles
  • Pyridines
  • Quinazolines
  • tucatinib
  • Capecitabine
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Trastuzumab