Preclinical data showed that prophylactic, low-dose temozolomide (TMZ) significantly prevented breast cancer brain metastasis. We present results of a phase I trial combining T-DM1 with TMZ for the prevention of additional brain metastases after previous occurrence and local treatment in patients with HER2+ breast cancer.

Patients and Methods:

Eligible patients had HER2+ breast cancer with brain metastases and were within 12 weeks of whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT), stereotactic radiosurgery, and/or surgery. Standard doses of T-DM1 were administered intravenously every 21 days (3.6 mg/kg) and TMZ was given orally daily in a 3+3 phase I dose escalation design at 30, 40, or 50 mg/m2, continuously. DLT period was one 21-day cycle. Primary endpoint was safety and recommended phase II dose. Symptom questionnaires, brain MRI, and systemic CT scans were performed every 6 weeks. Cell-free DNA sequencing was performed on patients’ plasma and CSF.


Twelve women enrolled, nine (75%) with prior SRS therapy and three (25%) with prior WBRT. Grade 3 or 4 AEs included thrombocytopenia (1/12), neutropenia (1/12), lymphopenia (6/12), and decreased CD4 (6/12), requiring pentamidine for Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia prophylaxis. No DLT was observed. Four patients on the highest TMZ dose underwent dose reductions. At trial entry, 6 of 12 patients had tumor mutations in CSF, indicating ongoing metastatic colonization despite a clear MRI. Median follow-up on study was 9.6 m (2.8–33.9); only 2 patients developed new parenchymal brain metastases. Tumor mutations varied with patient outcome.


Metronomic TMZ in combination with standard dose T-DM1 shows low-grade toxicity and potential activity in secondary prevention of HER2+ brain metastases.

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