HER2-positive, trastuzumab-resistant metastatic esophageal cancer presenting with brain metastasis after durable response to dual HER2 blockade: a case report
We here report a case of a patient diagnosed with human epithelial growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-amplified esophageal adenocarcinoma. The patient responded well to trastuzumab-based chemotherapy initially, but progressed with liver metastases. Her treatment was then switched to dual HER2 blockade with both trastuzumab and lapatinib in combination with capecitabine. She tolerated therapy and responded remarkably well with radiographic resolution of liver metastases. Unfortunately, she developed multiple brain metastases in the absence of extracranial progression. Discordant negative expression of HER2 and subclonal mutations in brain lesions were discovered, which, at least in part, explained her brain metastases in the presence of capecitabine and lapatinib, as both agents are known to be able to cross the blood brain barrier. The potential mechanism for dual HER2 blockade is discussed in the context of HER2- positive, trastuzumab-resistant, advanced esophageal cancer. The incidence of brain metastasis in advanced gastro-esophageal cancer has been reported to be extremely low, but is expected to increase with more effective systemic therapy. The intratumoral heterogeneity between the metastases, local recurrences and the primary tumor is definitely noteworthy.