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Immunotherapy Combination in HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Kevin Kalinsky, MD, MS
Published Online:6:52 PM, Fri August 3, 2018

Kevin Kalinsky, MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University, discusses the results from a trial in HER2-positive breast cancer that was presented at the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The study looked at the use of trastuzumab (Herceptin) in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor in patients that were either PD-L1-positive or negative.

In patients that were PD-L1 positive, there was a significant difference in overall survival compared to PD-L1-negative patients. Kalinsky says that this poses the question of whether there is a small amount of patients that really respond to immunotherapy in this population.

Kalinsky also noted that it was interesting to see higher rates of stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in the PD-L1-positive cohort, where these lymphocytes seemed to be able to dichotomize those that would respond. 

While the focus in breast cancer research has been primarily triple-negative disease, there are some ongoing trials like this one evaluating immunotherapeutic strategies in HER2-positive breast cancer.
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