Common Trastuzumab Side Effects

  • Common trastuzumab side effects include:
    • Flu-like symptoms:
      • Fever
      • Chills
      • Mild pain
      • Nausea
      • Diarrhea
  • However:
    • The more serious adverse event is:
      • Cardiotoxicity
  • Cardiac dysfunction:
    • Occurs in 2% to 7% of patients and includes:
      • Congestive heart failure
  • As a result:
    • Regular screening of cardiac ejection fraction:
      • Is warranted during treatment
    • Luckily the decline in ejection fraction:
      • Appears to be reversible with:
        • Cessation of the medication and standard therapies used to treat congestive heart failure
  • The risk of cardiotoxicity is increased:
    • When combined with anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimens:
      • A retrospective review of seven phase II and III trastuzumab clinical trials:
        • Found the incidence of cardiac dysfunction was:
          • 27%:
            • In patients receiving trastuzumab and anthracycline plus cyclophosphamide chemotherapy
        • Was substantially lower at 13% in patients receiving paclitaxel and trastuzumab
        • Was lowest if receiving trastuzumab alone:
          • 3% to 7%
            • However:
              • Most of these patients had received prior anthracycline therapy
                • Nonetheless, the use of trastuzumab remains justified given its significant impact on overall survival


  1. Seidman A1, Hudis C, Pierri MK, et al. Cardiac dysfunction in the trastuzumab clinical trials experience. J Clin Oncol. 2002;20(5):1215-1221.
  2. Breast Cancer Care. Trastuzumab (Herceptin). Published July 2016. Accessed January 31, 2017.

#Arrangoiz #BreastSurgeon #CancerSurgeon #BreastExpert #SurgicalOncologist #Cancer #BreastCancer #Teacher

1 thought on “Common Trastuzumab Side Effects”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s