Background: The management of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer (BC) has changed dramatically with the introduction and widespread use of HER2-targeted therapies. However, there is relatively limited real-world information on patterns of use, effectiveness and safety in whole of population cohorts. The research programme detailed in this protocol will generate evidence on the prescribing patterns, safety monitoring and outcomes of patients with BC treated with HER2- targeted therapies in Australia.

Methods/design: Our ongoing research programme will involve a series of retrospective cohort studies that include every patient accessing Commonwealth-funded HER2-targeted therapies for the treatment of early BC and advanced BC in Australia. At the time of writing, our cohorts consist of 11 406 patients with early BC and 5631 with advanced BC who accessed trastuzumab and lapatinib between 2001 and 2014. Pertuzumab and trastuzumab emtansine were publicly funded for metastatic BC in 2015, and future data updates will include patients accessing these medicines. We will use dispensing claims for cancer and other medicines, medical service claims and demographics data for each patient accessing HER2- targeted therapies to undertake this research.

Ethics and dissemination: Ethics approval has been granted by the Population Health Service Research Ethics Committee and data access approval has been granted by the Australian Department of Human Services (DHS) External Review Evaluation Committee. Our findings will be reported in peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and policy forums. By providing detailed information on the use and outcomes associated with HER2-targeted therapies in a national cohort treated in routine clinical care, our research programme will better inform clinicians and patients about the real-world use of these treatments and will assist third-party payers to better understand the use and economic costs of these treatments.


protocol; breast cancer; human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2); HER2-targeted therapies; prescribing patterns, safety monitoring; patient outcomes

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