Concurrent versus sequential use of trastuzumab and chemotherapy in early HER2+ breast cancer.



After a median follow-up of 8.2 years, RFS events had occurred in 224 out of 1235 (18.1%) concurrently treated women and 129 out of 608 (21.2%) sequentially treated women (adjusted-HR 0.91; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67-1.24; P = 0.580). Deaths occurred in 182/1235 (14.7%) concurrently treated women and 104/608 (17.1%) sequentially treated women (adjusted-HR 0.92; 95% CI 0.65-1.29; P = 0.635).


The results of this population-based study are consistent with earlier randomized trials, demonstrating a non-significant difference in outcome for concurrently treated women compared to those who were treated sequentially, suggesting both options are justified.


The addition of trastuzumab to adjuvant chemotherapy has improved the outcome of human epidermal growth-factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer. Uncertainty remains about the optimal timing of trastuzumab treatment. Therefore, we compared long-term outcome after concurrent versus sequential treatment, in a population-based setting, using data from the nationwide Netherlands Cancer Registry.


We identified 1843 women diagnosed in The Netherlands from January 1st 2005 until January 1st 2008 with primary, HER2-positive, T1-4NanyM0 breast cancer who received adjuvant chemotherapy and trastuzumab. Kaplan-Meier survival estimates and Cox regression were used to compare recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) between women who received trastuzumab concurrently with versus sequentially after chemotherapy. Hazard ratios (HR) were adjusted for age, year of diagnosis, grade, pathological T-stage, number of positive lymph nodes, ER-status, PR-status, socio-economic status, radiotherapy, hormonal therapy, ovarian ablation, and type of chemotherapy.

More about this publication

Breast cancer research and treatment
  • Publication date 28-10-2020

This site uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.