Making Targeted Therapy Available to More People with Breast Cancer

VIDEO | 1:01

MSK medical oncologist Shanu Modi explains findings from a recent clinical trial that showed patients with low levels of the protein HER2 in their breast cancer tumors can benefit from the drug trastuzumab deruxtecan. Historically, these patients have not been treated with targeted drugs that block HER2. 

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We currently think of the HER2 status of breast cancers in a binary fashion. So HER2-positive breast cancers are sensitive and respond to HER2 targeted therapies, whereas HER2-negative breast cancers do not. But we know within the HER2-negative population, there are tumors that express low levels of HER2, and this low level of HER2 can be targeted with some of our newer-generation antibody drug conjugates. And in the DESTINY-Breast04 trial I think we've shown for the first time now that a HER2 targeted therapy, trastuzumab deruxtecan, can improve the outcomes and survival for patients with HER2-low metastatic breast cancer. And so, the results of this trial really allow us to extend the benefits of HER2 targeted therapy to a whole new population of patients and improve, I think, survival outcomes for a subpopulation of patients with metastatic breast cancer.