Atezolizumab With Neoadjuvant Anti-Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 Therapy and Chemotherapy in Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2-Positive Early Breast Cancer: Primary Results of the Randomized Phase III IMpassion050 Trial

J Clin Oncol. 2022 Sep 1;40(25):2946-2956. doi: 10.1200/JCO.21.02772. Epub 2022 Jun 28.


Purpose: Combining standard of care (pertuzumab-trastuzumab [PH], chemotherapy) with cancer immunotherapy may potentiate antitumor immunity, cytotoxic activity, and patient outcomes in high-risk, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive early breast cancer. We report the phase III IMpassion050 primary analysis of neoadjuvant atezolizumab, PH, and chemotherapy in these patients.

Methods: Patients with a primary tumor of > 2 cm and histologically confirmed, positive lymph node status (T2-4, N1-3, M0) were randomly assigned 1:1 to atezolizumab/placebo with dose-dense doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide, followed by paclitaxel, and PH. After surgery, patients were to continue atezolizumab/placebo and PH (total: 1 year of HER2-targeted therapy); those with residual disease could switch to ado-trastuzumab emtansine with atezolizumab/placebo. Coprimary efficacy end points were pathologic complete response (pCR; ypT0/is ypN0) rates in intention-to-treat (ITT) and programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1)-positive populations.

Results: At clinical cutoff (February 5, 2021), pCR rates in the placebo and atezolizumab groups in the ITT populations were 62.7% (n = 143/228) and 62.4% (n = 141/226), respectively (difference -0.33%; 95% CI, -9.2 to 8.6; P = .9551). The pCR rates in the placebo and atezolizumab groups in patients with PD-L1-positive tumors were 72.5% (n = 79/109) and 64.2% (n = 70/109), respectively (difference -8.26%; 95% CI, -20.6 to 4.0; P = .1846). Grade 3-4 and serious adverse events were more frequent in the atezolizumab versus placebo group. Five grade 5 adverse events occurred (four neoadjuvant, one adjuvant; two assigned to study treatment), all with atezolizumab. Overall, the safety profile was consistent with that of atezolizumab in other combination studies.

Conclusion: Atezolizumab with neoadjuvant dose-dense doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide-paclitaxel and PH for high-risk, HER2-positive early breast cancer did not increase pCR rates versus placebo in the ITT or PD-L1-positive populations. PH and chemotherapy remains standard of care; longer follow-up may help to inform the long-term impact of atezolizumab.

Trial registration: NCT03726879.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • B7-H1 Antigen / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Doxorubicin
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Paclitaxel
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Trastuzumab
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • atezolizumab
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Trastuzumab
  • Paclitaxel

Associated data