Purpose: Approximately 15% to 43% of esophageal adenocarcinomas (EACs) are human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive. Because dual-agent HER2 blockade demonstrated a survival benefit in breast cancer, we conducted a phase II feasibility study of trastuzumab and pertuzumab added to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) in patients with EAC.
Patients and methods: Patients with resectable HER2-positive EAC received standard nCRT with carboplatin and paclitaxel and 41.4 Gy of radiotherapy, with 4 mg/kg of trastuzumab on day 1, 2 mg/kg per week during weeks 2 to 6, and 6 mg/kg per week during weeks 7, 10, and 13 and 840 mg of pertuzumab every 3 weeks. The primary end point was feasibility, defined as ≥ 80% completion of treatment with both trastuzumab and pertuzumab. An exploratory comparison of survival with a propensity score-matched cohort receiving standard nCRT was performed, as were exploratory pharmacokinetic and biomarker analyses.
Results: Of the 40 enrolled patients (78% men; median age, 63 years), 33 (83%) completed treatment with trastuzumab and pertuzumab. No unexpected safety events were observed. R0 resection was achieved in all patients undergoing surgery, with pathologic complete response in 13 patients (34%). Three-year progression-free and overall survival (OS) were 57% and 71%, respectively (median follow-up, 32.1 months). Compared with the propensity score-matched cohort, a significantly longer OS was observed with HER2 blockade (hazard ratio, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.97). Results of pharmacokinetic analysis and activity on [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography scans did not correlate with survival or pathologic response. Patients with HER2 3+ overexpression or growth factor receptor-bound protein 7 (Grb7) -positive tumors at baseline demonstrated significantly better survival (P = .007) or treatment response (P = .016), respectively.
Conclusion: Addition of trastuzumab and pertuzumab to nCRT in patients with HER2-positive EAC is feasible and demonstrates potentially promising activity compared with historical controls. HER2 3+ overexpression and Grb7 positivity are potentially predictive for survival and treatment response, respectively.