Colon cancer – recently approved drug for breast cancer, Enhertu, show promise

Colon cancer treated with Enhertu 

Enhertu is an antibody-drug conjugate composed of a chemotherapy bound to an anti-HER2 antibody.

Recently, in December 2019, Enhertu received accelerated approval by the FDA to treat unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer patients based on the unremarkable outcomes demonstrated in the study.

Enhertu was assessed in colon cancer and these are the results.

About DESTINY-CRC01 study

Early studies have shown promising activity in advanced HER2-expressing tumors.

DESTINY-CRC01 study is a phase 2 multicenter study of Enhertu in patients with HER2-expressing metastatic colorectal cancer. Patients with HER2 positive, RAS–wild type metastatic colorectal cancer that progressed on up to 2 prior treatment lines received Enhertu in 3 groups in the study:

Group A – Patients whose tumors express HER2 IHC 3+ or IHC 2+/ISH+

Group B – Patients whose tumors express IHC 2+/ISH2

Group C – Patients whose tumors express IHC 1+

Results in colon cancer

At the time data was collected for the analysis, 78 patients were enrolled to the study. Group A with 53 patients, group B with 7 patients and group C with 18 patients.

All patients had received Enhertu.

In arm A

  • 45.3% of patients had responded well to Enhertu treatment with 1 patient who achieved complete remission and 23 patients had their cancer shrunken.
  • Of the patients who previously received an anti-HER2 therapy, 43.8% responded to Enhertu treatment and had their cancer stopped from growing or shrunken.
  • 83% of patients had some degree of positive response to Enhertu.
  • The median time until the disease had progressed from the start of Enhertu was 6.9 months
  • The median survival was not reached(!) all patients were alive at the time of the collection of study data for analysis.

In arms B and C

No patient had responded to the treatment, no control on tumor growth and no shrinkage in tumor sized were observed.

Side Effects among colon cancer patients

61.5% of patients experienced severe side effects.

The most common were decreased neutrophil count (21.8%) and anemia (14.1%).

7 patients (9%) had to drug discontinue the treatment.

5 patients (6.4%) had interstitial lung disease (ILD) of whom 2 died from.


  • Overall, Enhertu demonstrated remarkable activity in patients with HER2 positive metastatic colorectal cancer refractory to standard therapies, with a safety profile consistent with previous results.
  • ILD is an important risk and requires careful recognition and intervention.

The best treatment for a cancer patient is to get the most advanced cancer drugs in advanced stages of development. There, the hope and the chance to extend life go far beyond the standard protocols.

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