Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat some cases of HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer. Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine may be prescribed in cases where Trastuzumab and a taxane drug have already been used, or where breast cancer has recurred within six months of adjuvant (post-surgery) treatment. Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine is marketed under the brand name Kadcyla.
In about 25 percent of breast cancers, there is a genetic variation that causes tumor cells to produce extra receptors for a growth factor. This gene, known as Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2 (HER2), causes the cancer to grow more aggressively. Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine is a biologic drug of a type called antibody-drug conjugates. Antibody-drug conjugates consist of an antibody capable of targeting HER2-positive breast cancer cells attached to a drug that kills the targeted cells. Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine is believed to work by targeting and killing breast cancer cells, thereby slowing the growth of tumors.
How do I take it?
Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine is given as an intravenous injection once every three weeks during regular chemotherapy treatments.
Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine comes in single-use vials.
The FDA-approved label for Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine lists common side effects including nausea, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, thrombocytopenia (decrease in platelets, which help blood clot), headache, nosebleeds, constipation, and abnormal liver test results.
Rare but serious side effects listed for Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine can include heart, lung, liver, and blood clotting problems. It can also cause nerve damage that can result in numbness, tingling or pain in hands and feet.