Trastuzumab use and risk of congestive heart failure in older breast cancer patients

Ning Zhang, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Trastuzumab is a humanized-monoclonal antibody, developed specifically for HER2-neu over-expressed breast cancer patients. Although highly effective and well tolerated, it was reported associated with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) in clinical trial settings (up to 27%). This leaves a gap where, Trastuzumab-related CHF rate in general population, especially older breast cancer patients with long term treatment of Trastuzumab remains unknown. This thesis examined the rates and risk factors associated with Trastuzumab-related CHF in a large population of older breast cancer patients. A retrospective cohort study using the existing Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) and Medicare linked de-identified database was performed. Breast cancer patients ≥ 66 years old, stage I-IV, diagnosed in 1998-2007, fully covered by Medicare but no HMO within 1-year before and after first diagnosis month, received 1st chemotherapy no earlier than 30 days prior to diagnosis were selected as study cohort. The primary outcome of this study is a diagnosis of CHF after starting chemotherapy but none CHF claims on or before cancer diagnosis date. ICD-9 and HCPCS codes were used to pool the claims for Trastuzumab use, chemotherapy, comorbidities and CHF claims. Statistical analysis including comparison of characteristics, Kaplan-Meier survival estimates of CHF rates for long term follow up, and Multivariable Cox regression model using Trastuzumab as a time-dependent variable were performed. Out of 17,684 selected cohort, 2,037 (12%) received Trastuzumab. Among them, 35% (714 out of 2037) were diagnosed with CHF, compared to 31% (4784 of 15647) of CHF rate in other chemotherapy recipients (p<.0001). After 10 years of follow-up, 65% of Trastuzumab users developed CHF, compared to 47% in their counterparts. After adjusting for patient demographic, tumor and clinical characteristics, older breast cancer patients who used Trastuzumab showed a significantly higher risk in developing CHF than other chemotherapy recipients (HR 1.69, 95% CI 1.54 - 1.85). And this risk is increased along with the increment of age (p-value < .0001). Among Trastuzumab users, these covariates also significantly increased the risk of CHF: older age, stage IV, Non-Hispanic black race, unmarried, comorbidities, Anthracyclin use, Taxane use, and lower educational level. It is concluded that, Trastuzumab users in older breast cancer patients had 69% higher risk in developing CHF than non-Trastuzumab users, much higher than the 27% increase reported in younger clinical trial patients. Older age, Non-Hispanic black race, unmarried, comorbidity, combined use with Anthracycline or Taxane also significantly increase the risk of CHF development in older patients treated with Trastuzumab.

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Recommended Citation

Zhang, Ning, "Trastuzumab use and risk of congestive heart failure in older breast cancer patients" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1516193.