Evolution of anti-HER2 therapies for cancer treatment

Sagun Parakh, Hui K Gan, Adam C. Parslow, Ingrid J.G. Burvenich, Antony W. Burgess, Andrew M. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The development of HER2-directed monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors have provided benefits to cancer patients, as well as produced many insights into the biology of the ErbB receptor family. Current therapies based on ErbB family members have resulted in improved overall survival with associated improvements in quality of life for the cancer patients that respond to treatment. Compared to monotherapy using either two antibodies to block the HER2 receptor blockade or combinatorial approaches with HER2 antibodies and standard therapies has provided additional benefits. Despite the therapeutic success of existing HER2 therapies, personalising treatment and overcoming resistance to these therapies remains a significant challenge. The heterogeneous intra-tumoural HER2 expression and lack of fully predictive and prognostic biomarkers remain significant barriers to improving the use of HER2 antibodies. Imaging modalities using radiolabelled pertuzumab and trastuzumab allow quantitative assessment of intra-tumoural HER2 expression, HER2 antibody saturation and the success of different drug delivery systems to be assessed. Molecular imaging with HER2 antibodies has the potential to be a non-invasive, predictive and prognostic technique capable of influencing therapeutic decisions, predicting response and failure of treatments as well as providing insights into receptor recycling and signalling. Similarly, conjugating HER2 antibodies with novel toxic payloads or combining HER2 antibodies with cellular immunotherapy provide exciting new opportunities for the management of tumours overexpressing HER2. Future research will lead to higher therapeutic responses, lower toxicities and providing insight into the mechanisms of resistance to HER2-targeted treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalCancer Treatment Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • HER2
  • Imaging
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Pertuzumab
  • T-DM1
  • Trastuzumab

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