Enhertu Is a ‘Significant Step Forward’ for Patients with HER2-Expressing Cancers


Patients with HER2-expressing cancers using Enhertu saw significant improvements in progression-free survival and overall survival.

cancer cells

Enhertu is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), a substance made of monoclonal antibody that binds onto proteins or receptors on cancer cells.

The antibody-drug conjugate Enhertu has been confirmed to improve progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with different HER2-expressing advanced solid tumors, as stated in a press release from AstraZeneca.

HER2 is a tyrosine kinase receptor, or a group of proteins related to cell-to-cell communication, metabolism and survival, but can cause cancer cells to grow if overactive. The press release explained that when this protein is overexpressed, the HER2 gene may become amplified, which could lead to aggressive disease and poor prognosis. HER2-directed therapies, such as Enhertu, are also used to treat breast, gastric, lung and colorectal cancers, as the press release established.

Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan) is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), a substance made of monoclonal antibody that binds onto proteins or receptors on cancer cells. Specifically, this ADC is directed toward HER2-expressing advanced solid tumors, as noted in the press release. Enhertu is also commonly known to treat patients with unresectable (cannot be surgically removed) or metastatic HER2-positive and HER2-low breast cancers.

In a phase 2 DESTINY-PanTumor02 trial run by AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, Enhertu was used as treatment across multiple HER2-expressing advanced solid tumors. The data and analysis were presented at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

The trial included 267 patients, who were divided up into seven groups relative to their respective cancer types. These groups included biliary tract, bladder, cervical, endometrial, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. The seventh group included patients with rare tumors. Each patient received Enhertu via intravenous infusion (injected into a vein).

READ MORE:Enhertu Is Promising for Difficult-to-Treat Solid Cancers

Progression-free survival (PFS, the period during and after treatment of cancer when the disease does not get worse) and overall survival (OS, the period from diagnosis or treatment where patients are still alive) were the focus in the trial.

“The progression-free survival and overall survival results for Enhertu alongside the continued robust and durable tumor responses seen with further follow up underscore the potential value of this important medicine for patients with HER2-expressing cancers who currently have no targeted treatment options,” said Cristian Massacesi, chief medical officer and oncology chief development officer at AstraZeneca, in the press release. “With a high unmet need in these cancers, we are working with health authorities to bring Enhertu to patients with HER2-expressing cancers that could potentially benefit from this medicine as quickly as possible.”

The global head of oncology development at Daiichi Sankyo, Mark Rutstein, also commented in the press release. “These updated results from the DESTINY-PanTumor02 trial are important as we work to reshape the clinical landscape in HER2-expressing advanced cancers, where patients currently have limited treatment options and face a poor prognosis. The overall survival demonstrated by Enhertu in these patients is a significant step forward in the potential to advance current standards of care and offer new options for patients with HER2-expressing cancers.”

Looking ahead, the respective trial plans on evaluating the efficacy and safety of Enhertu, particularly in patients with locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic HER2-expressing solid tumors who were previously treated. The patients in this group also were not eligible for curative therapy, which includes biliary tract, bladder, cervical, endometrial, ovarian, pancreatic and other cancers.

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.

Recent Videos
Image of Meaghan Mooney at the 2024  Extraordinary Healer Award event.
Image of a man with a beard.
Image of a man with gray facial hair and a navy blue suit with a light orange tie.
Dr. Chapman-Davis in an interview with CURE
Dr. Karyn A. Goodman
Educated Patient Women's Cancer Summit
Related Content