The association between HER2-low status and survival in patients with metastatic breast cancer treated with Cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 inhibitors: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Guven D. C., Sahin T. K.

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, vol.204, no.3, pp.443-452, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 204 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10549-023-07226-1
  • Journal Name: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Gender Studies Database, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.443-452
  • Keywords: Breast cancer, CDK4/6 inhibitors, HER2-low, HER2-zero, Prognosis
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: The cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitors significantly altered the treatment landscape of hormone-positive (HR+), HER2- metastatic breast cancer (MBC). However, biomarkers predicting long-term benefit and early progression are yet to be defined. Several studies suggested the possibility of diminished efficacy in patients with HER2-low disease. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the association between low-level HER2 expression and efficacy outcomes (PFS, OS, ORR) with CDK 4/6 inhibitors. Methods: The Pubmed, Web of Science, and Scopus databases were used to systematically filter the published studies from inception to 08 August 2023 for this systemic review. Studies including MBC patients treated with CDK 4/6 inhibitors and reported survival outcomes according to HER2 expression were included. We performed the meta-analyses with the generic inverse-variance method with a fixed-effects model and used HRs with 95% two-sided CIs as the principal summary measure. Results: Nine studies encompassing 2705 patients were included in the analyses. In the pooled analysis of nine studies, the risk of progression and/or death was higher in patients with HER2-low tumors compared to HER2-zero (HR: 1.22, 95% CI 1.10–1.35, p < 0.001). In the pooled analysis of five studies, although the median follow-up was short, the risk of death was higher in the HER2-low group compared to the HER2-zero group (HR: 1.22, 95% CI 1.04–1.44, p = 0.010). Conclusion: The available evidence demonstrates a significantly higher risk of progression or death with CDK 4/6 inhibitors in HER2-low tumors. Further research is needed to improve outcomes in patients with HR+-HER2-low tumors.