Maintenance Therapy in HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer: A New Approach for an Old Concept.


José Manuel Pérez-García


IOB Institute of Oncology, Quiron University Hospital, Plaza Alfonso Comin 5-7, 08023, Barcelona, Spain. [Email]


The aim of this article is to discuss the role of maintenance therapy with chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, or bevacizumab-based combination therapy in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer. The optimization of maintenance therapy in patients with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer must be based on disease profile (tumor subtype and endocrine-sensitive status), the prior use of bevacizumab-containing regimens, and the number of prognostic risk factors. Chemotherapy should be used in patients with triple-negative breast cancer and endocrine-resistant hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer, whereas endocrine therapy is the preferred option for patients with endocrine-sensitive hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer. After first-line bevacizumab plus chemotherapy, bevacizumab may be continued until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity, and endocrine therapy or capecitabine may be added. The goals of maintenance therapy in patients with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer are to improve and maintain clinical response, increase time to progression, extend overall survival, relieve tumor-related symptoms, and delay the use of aggressive therapies, without compromising quality of life. Maintenance therapy, using chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, and combined therapy with bevacizumab, is a reasonable strategy to achieve these goals in patients with either triple-negative breast cancer or hormone receptor-positive and HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer. Ongoing clinical studies of new molecular-targeted therapies may provide additional pharmacological options for future maintenance strategies in these patients.