ADCs Work Across Multiple Metastatic Breast Cancer Subtypes

The advent of antibody drug conjugates have been an exciting advancement for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, as certain drugs can work in multiple patient cohorts, explained Janice Cowden, a stage 4 triple-negative breast cancer survivor and patient advocate with the Patient-Centered Dosing Initiative.

According to the American Association for Cancer Research, antibody drug conjugates are a type of drug that work by targeting certain proteins, called biomarkers. The drugs find and attach to the biomarkers and then deliver the cancer-fighting chemotherapy agent — also known as the drug’s “payload.” This method of targeted treatment tends to be more precise and have fewer side effects than chemotherapy, which is not as selective in the cells that it damages.

MORE:Antibody Drug Conjugates ‘Make Chemotherapy Targeted’ for Patients With Cancer

Coweden explained that Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy) is currently approved both for patients with HR-positive/HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer, as well as those with pretreated metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. Similarly, Enhertu (fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki) was approved in 2019 for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer and then again in 2022 for those with unresectable HER2-positive disease.

“We haven’t seen drugs like that before that actually work in all these different subtypes,” Cowden said in an interview with CURE® at the 2023 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.


I think one of the beautiful things about the antibody drug conjugates is that it expands beyond just one subtype of metastatic breast cancer. So we have drugs like Trodelvy that we can use both in the hormone-positive space, as well as in the triple-negative space.

Enhertu as well, which can work for HER2-positive. It can work for hormone positive, that’s her too low, as well as triple negative. And we haven’t seen drugs like that before that actually work in all of these different subtypes.

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