HER2+ breast cancer can be aggressive and may recur even after adjuvant treatment (following surgery) 1

1 in 8 women in the US develops invasive breast cancer (cancer that invades tissues beyond the milk ducts and lobules of the breast)2,3
20% to 25% of these women will have HER2+ breast cancer4
Although adjuvant treatments (following surgery) are available specifically for early-stage HER2+ breast cancer, tumor cells can sometimes outsmart these medications and continue to grow and spread. Examples of HER2-targeted adjuvant treatments include1,5-12:
  • Trastuzumab
  • Trastuzumab and hyaluronidase-oysk
  • Pertuzumab
  • Trastuzumab, pertuzumab, and hyaluronidase-zzxf
  • Trastuzumab emtansine

Some factors that increase the risk of HER2+ breast cancer recurrence13,14:

  • Larger tumor size
  • Greater number of lymph nodes that test positive for cancer
  • Higher cancer stage
  • Being younger
  • Greater body mass index
  • Being a smoker
HER2 Breast Cancer Returns in 1 of 4 Women
"I wanted to do whatever I could to reduce my risk."

-Debbie, breast cancer patient advocate16

Recurrence can mean progression to metastases—cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, such as bones, lungs, brain, or liver—but there are things you can do to help reduce your risk.10,13


Breast cancer can become resistant to treatment over time, possibly leading to recurrence10
Different therapies block different pathways that tumors use to grow, which may be an important step in preventing breast cancer from outsmarting treatment and coming back5,7,9,17
Knowing your options and participating in the development of your treatment plan can help you feel more confident that you're doing everything to reduce your risk of recurrence
Adjuvant treatment (following surgery) may not be enough.10 Ask your doctor about a treatment plan that may help reduce your risk of recurrence.


Know your risk factors and your treatment plan to help you take control of your anxiety around recurrence
Talk to your healthcare team about what steps you should take next to reduce your chances of breast cancer returning
"I needed to feel confident that I had... done everything I could to reduce all of my risk or as much risk as possible."

-Debbie, breast cancer patient advocate16


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  • 1.Cameron D, Piccart-Gebhart MJ, Gelber RD, et al. 11 years’ follow-up of trastuzumab after adjuvant chemotherapy in HER2-positive early breast cancer: final analysis of the HERceptin Adjuvant (HERA) trial. Lancet. 2017;389(10075):1195-1205. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)32616-2.
  • 2.Breastcancer.org. U.S. breast cancer statistics. https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics. Accessed March 5, 2021.
  • 3.Breastcancer.org. Non-invasive or invasive breast cancer. https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/diagnosis/invasive. Accessed March 5, 2021.
  • 4.Slamon D, Eiermann W, Robert N, et al. Adjuvant trastuzumab in HER2-positive breast cancer. N Engl J Med. 2011;365(14):1273-1283. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0910383.
  • 5.Herceptin [package insert]. South San Francisco, CA: Genentech, Inc.
  • 6.Herceptin Hylecta [package insert]. South San Francisco, CA: Genentech, Inc.
  • 7.Perjeta [package insert]. South San Francisco, CA: Genentech, Inc.
  • 8.Phesgo [package insert]. South San Francisco, CA: Genentech, Inc.
  • 9.Kadcyla [package insert]. South San Francisco, CA: Genentech, Inc.
  • 10.Breastcancer.org. Metastatic breast cancer. https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types/recur_metast. Accessed March 5, 2021.
  • 11.von Minckwitz G, Procter M, de Azambuja E, et al. Adjuvant pertuzumab and trastuzumab in early HER2-positive breast cancer. N Engl J Med. 2017;377(2):122-131. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1703643.
  • 12.von Minckwitz G, Huang C-S, Mano MS, et al. Trastuzumab emtansine for residual invasive HER2-positive breast cancer. N Engl J Med. 2019;380(7):617-628. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1814017.
  • 13.Mayo Clinic. Recurrent breast cancer. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/recurrent-breast-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20377135. Accessed March 5, 2021.
  • 14.Breastcancer.org. Breast cancer risk factors. https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors. Accessed March 5, 2021.
  • 15.Perez EA, Romond EH, Suman VJ, et al. Trastuzumab plus adjuvant chemotherapy for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive breast cancer: planned joint analysis of overall survival from NSABP B-31 and NCCTG N9831. J Clin Oncol. 2014;32(33):3744-3752. doi:10.1200/JCO.2014.55.5730.
  • 16.U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Breast cancer public meeting on patient-focused drug development. https://www.fda.gov/media/129991/download. Accessed March 5, 2021.
  • 17.Fink MY, Chipuk JE. Survival of HER2-positive breast cancer cells: receptor signaling to apoptotic control centers. Genes Cancer. 2013;4(5-6):187-195. doi:10.1177/1947601913488598.
  • 18.Lin NU. Breast cancer brain metastases: new directions in systemic therapy. Ecancermedicalscience. 2013;7:307. doi:10.3332/ecancer.2013.307.
  • 19.Lin NU, Winer EP. Brain metastases: the HER2 paradigm. Clin Cancer Res. 2007;13(6):1648-1655. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-06-2478.
  • 20.Olson EM, Najita JS, Sohl J, et al. Clinical outcomes and treatment practice patterns of patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in the post-trastuzumab era. Breast. 2013;22(4):525-531. doi:10.1016/j.breast.2012.12.006.