Targeting HER2 expression in cancer: New drugs and new indications
Keywords:HER2, targeted therapy, mutations, amplification
Functional activation of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) has been shown to strongly promote carcinogenesis, leading to the investigation of HER2-directed agents in cancers with HER2 genomic alterations. This has been best documented in the context of HER2 gene amplification in breast and gastric/gastroesophageal junction carcinomas for which several HER2-directed agents are available and have become a part of standard treatment regimens. Somatic HER2 gene mutations have been recently described at low frequency in a variety of human cancers and have emerged as a novel predictive biomarker for HER2-directed therapies. Preclinical data also indicate that activating HER2 mutations are potent oncogenic drivers in a manner that is analogous to HER2 amplification. HER2 mutations may clinically confer sensitivity to HER2-directed agents as recently shown in a phase II clinical trial with antibody-drug conjugate against HER2 trastuzumab deruxtecan in patients with non-squamous non-small cell lung carcinoma.