A trial looking at trastuzumab emtansine and pertuzumab for breast cancer (KAITLIN)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Breast cancer




Phase 3

This trial is looking at drug called trastuzumab emtansine alongside pertuzumab for breast cancer. The trial is for people whose breast cancer has a large number of HER2 receptors (it is HER2 positive).

Doctors can treat breast cancer with surgery. After surgery if your breast cancer is HER2 positive you will have a biological therapy called trastuzumab (Herceptin). Trastuzumab works by seeking out cancer cells that have a particular protein. You may also have a taxane chemotherapy drug Open a glossary item with trastuzumab.

Pertuzumab is another type of biological therapy. It too looks for a particular protein on the cancer cell but works in a slightly different way to trastuzumab.

Trastuzumab emtansine (pronounced trast-oo-zoo-mab em-tan-seen) is a combination of trastuzumab and the chemotherapy drug emtansine. The trastuzumab finds the cancer cells and delivers the emtansine chemotherapy to them. This type of drug is called a conjugated monoclonal antibody.

In this trial the researchers want to compare

  • Trastuzumab emtansine alongside pertuzumab
  • Trastuzumab and pertuzumab alongside a taxane chemotherapy drug

They want to find out which is best to stop HER2 positive breast cancer coming back after surgery. They also want out find out more about the side effects of the drugs in this trial.

Who can enter

You may be able to join this trial if all of the following apply

  • You have breast cancer that has a large number of HER2 receptors (is HER2 positive Open a glossary item)
  • You have had surgery to remove your cancer
  • Your cancer has been tested for hormone receptors
  • You have had a sentinel lymph node biopsy or lymph nodes under your arm removed
  • You are well enough to carry out all your normal activities, apart from heavy physical work (performance status of 0 or 1)
  • Your heart works well enough (your doctor will do a test to find this out)
  • You have recently been tested for hepatitis B and hepatitis C (if you haven’t your doctor will do the test)
  • You have satisfactory blood test results
  • You are willing to use 2 reliable forms of contraception during treatment and for 7 months afterwards if there is any chance you or your partner could become pregnant
  • You are at least 18 years old

You cannot join this trial if any of these apply. You

  • Have breast cancer that has spread to your chest wall or skin (stage T4)
  • Have cancer that has spread to another part of your body
  • Have inflammatory breast cancer
  • Have cancer in both of your breasts unless both cancers have a large number of HER2 receptors
  • Have had a previous breast cancer
  • Had breast cancer surgery more than 9 weeks ago
  • Have had, or are having, any other anti cancer treatment apart from surgery
  • Can’t have radiotherapy
  • Have had another cancer in the past 5 years apart from non melanoma skin cancer and some early stage cancers Open a glossary item
  • Have certain heart problems (the trial team can advise about this)
  • Are known to have HIV
  • Have any other medical condition that could affect you taking part in this trial
  • Are taking medication that dampens down your immune system Open a glossary item
  • Are sensitive to the drugs, or their ingredients, used in this trial
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This is an international phase 3 trial. The researchers need 2,500 people to join.

To start with everyone has an anthracycline chemotherapy drug Open a glossary item. You have it every 3 weeks. Each 3 week period is called a cycle of treatment. You have 3 or 4 cycles of treatment. You have the anthracycline chemotherapy as an injection into a vein.

You are then put into a treatment group by a computer. This is called randomisation. Neither you nor your doctor will be able to decide which group you are in.

  • People in group 1 have trastuzumab, pertuzumab and a taxane drug
  • People in group 2 have trastuzumab emtansine and pertuzumab

11814 Trial Diagram

You have all these drugs as an injection into a vein. You have them every 3 weeks. You can have up to 18 cycles of treatment as long as it helping you and the side effects aren’t too bad.

The trial team will ask you to fill out a questionnaire before you start treatment, every 3 weeks for 3 months, then every 2 months during treatment and at 6 months and 1 year after you finish treatment. The questionnaire will ask about side effects and how you’ve been feeling. This is called a quality of life study.

If you agree to take part in this study, the researchers will ask for a sample of your cancer that was removed when you had surgery. You must agree to this if you want to take part in the trial.

They will also ask for extra blood samples to look for substances (biomarkers Open a glossary item) that may help measure how well the treatment is working and to find out more about breast cancer. You don’t have to agree to this. You can still take part in the trial.

Hospital visits

You see the doctor to have some tests before taking part in the trial. These tests include

  • A physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Heart trace (ECG Open a glossary item)
  • Heart scan (ECHO Open a glossary item or MUGA Open a glossary item)
  • Mammogram (if needed)
  • Chest X-ray

During treatment you see the doctor every 3 weeks for a physical examination and blood tests. You have a heart scan every 3 months.

Three weeks after finishing treatment you see the doctor for

  • A physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Heart Trace
  • Heart scan

After treatment you see the doctor for a physical examination and blood tests every 3 months for 2 years. After this you have a physical examination every 6 months for another 3 years and then every year for another 5 years.

You have a mammogram every year. You have regular heart scans for 5 years.

Side effects

The most common side effects of trastuzumab emtansine include

The most common side effects of trastuzumab include

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty getting to sleep
  • Head cold
  • Runny nose
  • Nose bleed
  • Cough and flu like symptoms
  • Sore mouth
  • A drop in blood cells causing an increased risk of infection, bleeding and bruising
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash, reddening of the skin
  • Cracked nails
  • Hair loss
  • Tingling, pain, numbness, itching, pins and needles in your hands or feet
  • Build up of fluid in your arms or legs causing swelling
  • Loss of appetite and taste changes
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Painful joints, muscles, chest, throat and tummy (abdomen)
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness

The most common side effects of pertuzumab include

  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tummy (abdominal) pain
  • Skin rash
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • A Change to the way your heart works
  • Headache

Your doctor will talk to you about the possible side effects of treatment before you agree to take part in the trial.

We have information about the side effects of

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Mark Verrill

Supported by


Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 11814

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Harriet wanted to try new treatments

Picture of Harriet

“I was keen to go on a clinical trial. I wanted to try new cancer treatments and hopefully help future generations.”

Last reviewed:

Rate this page:

No votes yet
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think

Share this page