Real-world survival of Danish patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer

Daniel Artzi*, Tobias Berg, Alan Celik, Iben Kümler, Julia Kenholm, Sami Al-Rawi, Maj-Britt Jensen, Michael Andersson, Ann Knoop

*Corresponding author for this work


BACKGROUND: The purpose was to investigate the treatment flow of patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (mBC), progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) across treatment lines and adherence to guidelines (defined as trastuzumab, pertuzumab and chemotherapy first line, where 85% received vinorelbine as backbone and T-DM1 second line). Furthermore, we identified clinical markers to predict the risk of developing brain metastases.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Patients with HER2-positive mBC, diagnosed between 01.01.2014-31.12.2019, registered in the database of the Danish Breast Cancer Group were included in this real-word study. Clinical follow-up was assessed until 01.10.2020 and complete follow-up for overall survival until 01.10.2021. Survival data were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method with guidelines adherence analyzed as a time-varying covariate, and the risk of CNS metastasis was estimated by the cumulative incidence function.

RESULTS: 631 patients were included. 329 (52%) patients followed the guidelines. The median OS for all patients was 42.3 months (95% Cl, 38.2-48.4), and significantly higher for the patients who followed guidelines; NA (95% CI, 78.2-NA). The median PFS for all patients was 13.4 months (95% Cl, 12.1-14.8), 6.6 (95% Cl, 5.8-7.6) and 5.8 (95% Cl, 4.9-6.9) for first, second and third line of treatment, respectively. Patients with ER-negative mBC had a higher risk of developing brain metastases and patients with high tumor burden had a higher risk of developing brain metastases with an adjusted HR of 0.69 (95% CI, 0.49-0.98), p = 0.047 and 2.69 (95% CI, 1.45-5.00), p = 0.002, respectively.

CONCLUSION: We found that only half of the patients with HER2-positive mBC, received first and second-line treatment according to national guidelines. Patients receiving treatment according to guidelines had a significantly higher median OS compared to patients who did not. We also found that patients with ER-negative disease or high tumor burden had a significantly higher risk of developing brain metastases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Oncologica
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)601-607
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols/adverse effects
  • Breast Neoplasms/pathology
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trastuzumab/therapeutic use


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