Kadcyla is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat some cases of HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer. Kadcyla 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. Kadcyla is also known by its drug name, Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine.
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. Kadcyla 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. Kadcyla is believed to work by targeting and killing breast cancer cells, thereby slowing the growth of tumors.
How do I take it?
Kadcyla is given as an intravenous injection once every three weeks during regular chemotherapy treatments.
Kadcyla comes in single-use vials.
The FDA-approved label for Kadcyla 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 Kadcyla 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.