Lapatinib (L) plus trastuzumab (T) improves outcomes for metastatic human epidermal growth factor 2–positive breast cancer and increases the pathologic complete response in the neoadjuvant setting, but their role as adjuvant therapy remains uncertain.
In the Adjuvant Lapatinib and/or Trastuzumab Treatment Optimization trial, patients with centrally confirmed human epidermal growth factor 2–positive early breast cancer were randomly assigned to 1 year of adjuvant therapy with T, L, their sequence (T→L), or their combination (L+T). The primary end point was disease-free survival (DFS), with 850 events required for 80% power to detect a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.8 for L+T versus T.
Between June 2007 and July 2011, 8,381 patients were enrolled. In 2011, due to futility to demonstrate noninferiority of L versus T, the L arm was closed, and patients free of disease were offered adjuvant T. A protocol modification required P ≤ .025 for the two remaining pairwise comparisons. At a protocol-specified analysis with a median follow-up of 4.5 years, a 16% reduction in the DFS hazard rate was observed with L+T compared with T (555 DFS events; HR, 0.84; 97.5% CI, 0.70 to 1.02; P = .048), and a 4% reduction was observed with T→L compared with T (HR, 0.96; 97.5% CI, 0.80 to 1.15; P = .61). L-treated patients experienced more diarrhea, cutaneous rash, and hepatic toxicity compared with T-treated patients. The incidence of cardiac toxicity was low in all treatment arms.
Adjuvant treatment that includes L did not significantly improve DFS compared with T alone and added toxicity. One year of adjuvant T remains standard of care.