KATHERINE trial and breast cancer

Thursday, February 28, 2019

In this episode, Charles E. Geyer, MD, of Virginia Commonweath University joins guest host Jame Abraham, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic to discuss the KATHERINE trial and its impact on the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer.

And Ilana Yurkiewicz, MD, talks about whether it's better for physicians to be vague about prognosis.

Show notes
By Hitomi Hosoya, MD, PhD
Resident in the department of internal medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System

The idea behind the KATHERINE trial was to determine whether trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) provides superior outcomes over trastuzumab in HER2-positive breast cancer patients who had residual disease after neoadjuvant therapy. Eligible patients had HER2-positive breast cancer with T1-T4 and N0-N3, and had residual disease after standard neoadjuvant therapy. The primary endpoint was invasive disease-free survival (IDFS), which was 22.2% in the trastuzumab group and 12.2% in the T-DM1 group (hazard ratio, 0.50). The authors concluded that T-DM1 was superior to trastuzumab in this population.


  1. N Engl J Med. 2019;380:617-28. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1814017
  2. J Clin Oncol. 2017 Jan 10;35(2):141-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28056202

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Podcast Participants

David Henry, MD
David Henry, MD, FACP, is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and vice chairman of the department of medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. He received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his MD from the University of Pennsylvania, then completed his internship, residency, and fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. After 2 years as an attending in the U.S. Air Force, he was drawn to practicing as a hem-onc because of the close patient contact and interaction, and his belief that, win or lose with each patient, one can always make a difference in their care and lives. Follow Dr. Henry on Twitter: @davidhenrymd.
Ilana Yurkiewicz, MD
Ilana Yurkiewicz, MD, is a fellow in hematology and oncology at Stanford University, where she also completed her internal medicine residency. Dr. Yurkiewicz holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a BS from Yale University. She went into hematology and oncology because of the high-stakes decision-making, meaningful relationships with patients, and opportunity to help people through some of the toughest challenges of their lives. Dr. Yurkiewicz is also a medical journalist. She is a former AAAS Mass Media Fellow and Scientific American blog columnist, and her writing has appeared in numerous media outlets including Hematology News, where she writes the monthly column Hard Questions. Dr. Yurkiewicz is on Twitter: @ilanayurkiewicz.