Our objective was to determine whether imaging with a human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-targeted PET tracer can detect HER2-positive metastases in patients with HER2-negative primary breast cancer. Methods: Patients with HER2-negative primary breast cancer and evidence of distant metastases were enrolled in an Institutional Review Board-approved prospective clinical trial. Archived pathologic samples from the patient's primary breast cancer were retested to confirm HER2-negative disease. Patients with confirmed HER2-negative primary breast cancer underwent 89Zr-trastuzumab PET/CT to screen for 89Zr-trastuzumab metastases. Metastases avid for 89Zr-trastuzumab by PET/CT were biopsied and pathologically examined to define HER2 status. Patients with pathologically proven HER2-positive metastases subsequently received off-protocol HER2-targeted therapy to evaluate treatment response. Results: Nine patients were enrolled, all of whom had pathologic retesting that confirmed HER2-negative primary breast cancer. Five demonstrated suggestive foci on 89Zr-trastuzumab PET/CT. Of these 5 patients, 2 had biopsy-proven HER2-positive metastases and went on to benefit from HER2-targeted therapy. In the other 3 patients, biopsy showed no evidence of HER2-positive disease, and their foci on 89Zr-trastuzumab PET were considered false-positive. Conclusion: In this proof-of-concept study, we demonstrated that 89Zr-trastuzmab PET/CT detects unsuspected HER2-positive metastases in patients with HER2-negative primary breast cancer. Although these are only initial results in a small sample, they are a proof of the concept that HER2-targeted imaging can identify additional candidates for HER2-targeted therapy. More specific HER2-targeted agents will be needed for clinical use.
- Molecular imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging