Management of HER2-Positive Breast Cancer for a Young Patient with Visceral Crisis-The Adjuvant Role of Lifestyle Changes

Curr Oncol. 2022 Mar 10;29(3):1890-1901. doi: 10.3390/curroncol29030154.


The safety profile and effectiveness of existing anti-HER2-targeted therapies have not been evaluated in patients with breast cancer and visceral crisis. We report the case of a 26-year-old woman who was diagnosed with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer and initially treated with curative intent therapy in a neoadjuvant setting, using Trastuzumab and Pertuzumab in combination with Docetaxel; her cancer recurred two years later, with liver metastases and pulmonary lymphangitic carcinomatosis, causing visceral crisis. Furthermore, the patient's clinical status worsened when she developed respiratory failure, hepatomegaly and a severe hepatocytolysis. Since the patient was free of disease more than six months, we started with Paclitaxel half dose because of the hepatic dysfunction, and we gradually reintroduced Trastuzumab and then Pertuzumab. In the meantime, the patient changed her lifestyle by increasing her consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and fiber and reducing her intake of processed meat, dairy and sugar. As a result, the patient showed a significant improvement in her respiratory symptoms and liver tests in less than two months. Imaging reevaluation showed partial remission of liver metastases and pulmonary lymphangitic carcinomatosis. She underwent seven months of dual anti-HER2 blockade before relapsing cerebrally. Our results suggest that the sequential combination therapy with Trastuzumab, Pertuzumab and Paclitaxel presented in this study, associated with a healthy lifestyle, may be a good management for recurrent HER2-positive breast cancer with pulmonary visceral crisis and severe liver dysfunction.

Keywords: HER2-positive breast cancer; dual anti-HER2 blockade; healthy lifestyle; visceral crisis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Liver Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Trastuzumab / adverse effects


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • pertuzumab
  • Trastuzumab
  • Paclitaxel