HER2-positive breast cancer brain metastasis: A new and exciting landscape.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)


Brain metastases (BrM) incidence is 25% to 50% in women with advanced human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer. Radiation and surgery are currently the main local treatment approaches for central nervous system (CNS) metastases. Systemic anti-HER2 therapy following a diagnosis of BrM improves outcomes. Previous preclinical data has helped elucidate HER2 brain trophism, the blood-brain/blood-tumor barrier(s), and the brain tumor microenvironment, all of which can lead to development of novel therapeutic options.

Recent findings

Several anti-HER2 agents are currently available and reviewed here, some of which have recently shown promising effects in BrM patients, specifically. New strategies driven by and focusing on brain metastasis-specific genomics, immunotherapy, and preventive strategies have shown promising results and are under development.


The field of HER2+ breast cancer, particularly for BrM, continues to evolve as new therapeutic strategies show promising results in recent clinical trials. Increasing inclusion of patients with BrM in clinical studies, and a focus on assessing their outcomes both intracranially and extracranially, is changing the landscape for patients with HER2+ CNS metastases by demonstrating the ability of newer agents to improve outcomes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zimmer, AS; Van Swearingen, AED; Anders, CK

Published Date

  • April 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 5 / 4

Start / End Page

  • e1274 -

PubMed ID

  • 32881421

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9124511

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2573-8348

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2573-8348

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/cnr2.1274


  • eng