Response of Leptomeningeal Metastasis of Breast Cancer With a HER2/neu Activating Variant to Tucatinib: A Case Report

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  • 1 Swedish Cancer Institute, Seattle, Washington;
  • | 2 Cancer Care Northwest, Spokane, Washington; and
  • | 3 University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.

Metastatic breast cancer demonstrates HER2/neu amplification approximately 15% of the time. However, HER2 mutations, which often stimulate tumor growth, occur in only 3% to 5% of patients, and are seen more frequently in metastatic versus primary tumors. They are more frequent in lobular carcinoma, including triple-negative lobular cancer. Many of these variants are resistant to trastuzumab and lapatinib. However, neratinib can be efficacious, and recent data suggest that antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) such as ado-trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) and trastuzumab deruxtecan may also be helpful. Laboratory and clinical data raise the possibility that simultaneous treatment with ADCs plus neratinib may be even more efficacious. Tucatinib, which has demonstrated significant activity in the central nervous system, has also been shown in vitro to be active against a number of these HER2 variants. This report describes a patient with metastatic estrogen receptor–positive, HER2-nonamplified breast cancer with an activating HER2 mutation whose tumor became resistant to neratinib as well as capecitabine, but whose subsequent leptomeningeal disease had a dramatically successful response to tucatinib plus capecitabine. As the frequency of HER2 mutations increases during the evolution of metastatic breast cancer, it is important to obtain genomic evaluation on these tumors with either repeat tissue or liquid biopsy as they progress over time.

Submitted October 11, 2021; final revision received December 31, 2021; accepted for publication January 24, 2022. Published online April 11, 2022.

Disclosures: The authors have disclosed that they have no financial interests, arrangements, or affiliations with the manufacturers of any products discussed in this article or their competitors.

Correspondence: Henry G. Kaplan, MD, Swedish Cancer Institute, 1221 Madison Street, Suite 920, Seattle, WA 98104. Email: hank.kaplan@swedish.org
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