Investigational New Drugs

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 173–178 | Cite as

Trastuzumab induces gastrointestinal side effects in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer patients

  • Noor Al-Dasooqi
  • Joanne M. Bowen
  • Rachel J. Gibson
  • Thomas Sullivan
  • Jude Lees
  • Dorothy M. Keefe


Purpose: To characterise the gastrointestinal toxicities associated with Trastuzumab administration in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer patients. Methods: All patients (n = 46) who received Trastuzumab as a single agent or in conjunction with conventional anti-cancer treatment within the Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Centre from 2002–2007 were included in this study. A retrospective analysis of case-notes was conducted to investigate the toxicities associated with Trastuzumab. Results: Trastuzumab as a single agent induced toxicities following 22% of administrations. Gastrointestinal toxicities were observed following 12% of administrations and included nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating. However, other prominent toxicities that were not related to the gastrointestinal tract were also observed including fatigue and lung symptoms (10.4%). Elderly patients (≥60 years) and those with metastatic disease experienced the highest frequency of toxicity. Conclusion: Trastuzumab induces a range of gastrointestinal toxicities in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer patients. These toxicities are separate to those caused by concurrent chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.


HER2-overexpressing breast cancer Targeted therapy Trastuzumab Gastrointestinal tract Toxicity 



Noor Al-Dasooqi was supported by an Honours scholarship from the Royal Adelaide Hospital; Dr. Rachel J Gibson was supported by a Research Fellowship from the Cancer Council South Australia; Dr. Joanne M Bowen was supported by a Research Fellowship from the Royal Adelaide Hospital; Professor Dorothy M. Keefe is the Cancer Council SA Chair of Cancer Medicine.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noor Al-Dasooqi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joanne M. Bowen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Rachel J. Gibson
    • 2
    • 4
  • Thomas Sullivan
    • 5
  • Jude Lees
    • 6
  • Dorothy M. Keefe
    • 2
    • 3
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Medical OncologyRoyal Adelaide HospitalAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Department of MedicineUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Discipline of Anatomical SciencesUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  5. 5.Discipline of Public HealthUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  6. 6.RAH Cancer CentreRoyal Adelaide HospitalAdelaideAustralia
  7. 7.Cancer Council South AustraliaEastwoodAustralia

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