Background: HER2 expression and amplification are observed in ~15% of tumour biopsies from patients with a sensitising EGFR mutation who develop EGFR TKI resistance. It is unknown whether HER2 targeting in this setting can result in tumour responses. Methods: A single arm phase II study was performed to study the safety and efficacy of trastuzumab and paclitaxel treatment in patients with a sensitising EGFR mutation who show HER2 expression in a tumour biopsy (IHC ≥ 1) after progression on EGFR TKI treatment. Trastuzumab (first dose 4 mg/kg, thereafter 2 mg/kg) and paclitaxel (60 mg/m2) were dosed weekly until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary end-point was tumour response rate according to RECIST v1.1. Results: Twenty-four patients were enrolled. Nine patients were exon 21 L858R positive and fifteen exon 19 del positive. Median HER2 IHC was 2+ (range 1–3). For 21 patients, gene copy number by in situ hybridisation could be calculated: 5 copies/nucleus (n = 9), 5–10 copies (n = 8), and >10 copies (n = 4). An objective response was observed in 11/24 (46%) patients. Highest response rates were seen for patients with 3+ HER2 IHC (12 patients, ORR 67%) or HER2 copy number ≥10 (4 patients, ORR 100%). Median tumour change in size was 42% decrease (range −100% to +53%). Median duration of response was 5.6 (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.8 to 7.3) months. Treatment toxicity was mild with four patients experiencing grade ≥3 toxicity, including fatigue, neuropathy, neutropaenia, urinary tract infection, and pneumonitis. Conclusions: Trastuzumab-paclitaxel induces objective tumour responses in 46% of EGFR TKI pretreated patients with an activating EGFR mutation and HER2 expression. The treatment was well tolerated. The relation between response rate and HER2 expression level and copy number suggests effective HER2 targeting by trastuzumab, although the combination with paclitaxel does not allow to determine the relative contribution of the individual drugs in terms of treatment efficacy.
de Langen, A. J., Jebbink, M., Hashemi, S. M. S., Kuiper, J. L., de Bruin-Visser, J., Monkhorst, K., ... Smit, E. F. (2018). Trastuzumab and paclitaxel in patients with EGFR mutated NSCLC that express HER2 after progression on EGFR TKI treatment. British Journal of Cancer, 119(5), 558-564. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-018-0194-7