This page contains brief details about the drug , it's indication, dosage & administaration, mechanism of action, related brands with strength, warnings and common side effects.

Background and Date of Approval

Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine consists of the active ingredient Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine. It is a prescription medication used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body or has not responded to other treatments. This medication is a combination of two drugs: trastuzumab, which is an antibody that targets HER2 receptors, and emtansine, which is a chemotherapy drug that kills cancer cells.  It is indicated to treat breast cancer in the early stages as well as advanced stages where patients develop recurrence within six months of chemotherapy treatment. This medication acts against tumors that produce more than the normal amount of a certain protein (known as HER2 protein).

Ado-trastuzumab emtansine was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on February 22, 2013, for the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer that has progressed despite prior treatment with other HER2-targeted therapies and chemotherapy. Since then, it has also been approved for use in the adjuvant (post-surgical) treatment of HER2-positive early-stage breast cancer.

Mechanism of Action of undefined

Ado-Trastuzumab emtansine works by combining the targeting ability of trastuzumab, which binds to HER2-positive cancer cells, with the cell-killing effects of emtansine, a chemotherapy drug. Once Ado-Trastuzumab Emtensine binds to the HER2-positive cancer cells, it releases emtansine, which then enters the cancer cells and destroys them. This process helps to slow down or stop the growth of cancer, reducing the size of tumors and potentially extending the patient's life.

Uses of undefined

Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine is used for treating a specific type of breast cancer known as HER2-positive breast cancer. It is also used in the post-surgical treatment of HER2-positive early-stage breast cancer and may be used in combination with other treatments.

undefined Drug administaration and Dosage available

Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine is administered by a healthcare professional in a hospital or clinic setting. The dose and frequency depend on several factors, such as the individual's age, weight, overall health, and the type and stage of the cancer being treated. If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible unless it's almost time for the next scheduled dose, in which case the missed dose should be skipped, and the regular dosing schedule resumed. Do not double the dose to make up for missed doses. It is available in 100mg and 160mg strength.

Warnings, Precautions and Side Effects of undefined


Ado-trastuzumab emtansine may cause heart problems, including heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms. Sometimes this medication may cause infusion reactions, including fever, chills, rash, or difficulty breathing.  This drug can increase the risk of bleeding, including severe bleeding. In some cases, it may cause nerve damage, including numbness, tingling, or weakness. It may also cause low platelet counts, which can increase the risk of bleeding. In rare cases, this medication causes the rapid breakdown of cancer cells, which can release large amounts of substances into the bloodstream. This can cause kidney damage, electrolyte imbalances, and other complications. Patients with a high tumor burden may be at increased risk for tumor lysis syndrome. Patients taking this drug are at increased risk of infections, including severe infections.


Several precautions should be taken when using Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine. First, this medication should not be used in patients who are allergic to it or any of its components. Patients with pre-existing nerve damage or other conditions that affect nerve function may be at increased risk for nerve damage, and caution should be taken when using this medication in these patients. Patients with pre-existing heart conditions or risk factors for heart disease should be closely monitored during treatment. As this medication increases the risk of infections, including severe infections. You should avoid contact with people who have contagious illnesses and report any signs of infection to their healthcare provider promptly. You require close monitoring during and after the infusions for any signs of an infusion reaction. Patients should be carefully monitored for any signs of infection, bleeding, or anemia. Adjustments to the treatment regimen may be necessary to manage side effects and ensure the best possible outcomes.

Side Effects

Ado-trastuzumab emtansine is associated with several potential side effects. Common side effects include fatigue, nausea, muscle and joint pain, headache, and low red and white blood cell counts. More serious side effects may occur, such as liver toxicity, lung toxicity, heart problems, and bleeding disorders. In rare cases, it may cause serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction or other serious side effects.

Word Of Advice

If you are receiving Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine, it's important to be proactive in managing your treatment and monitoring your symptoms. Keep communication with your healthcare provider and report any concerns or side effects as soon as possible. Avoid getting pregnant and breastfeeding during treatment. Use effective birth control during the treatment and at least 7 weeks after the last dose. Immediately contact your healthcare provider in case of any worsening of symptoms or infusion reactions. Take steps to care for yourself physically and emotionally during treatment, and seek support from loved ones and professionals as needed. Maintain a healthy and balanced diet during treatment to support your overall health and well-being. Being informed and engaged in your treatment can help ensure the best possible outcomes and manage potential risks or complications.

Frequently Asked Question


  1. Roche Products Limited, Electronic Medicines Compendium (EMC), [Revised on Jul 2021] [Accessed on 9th April 2023],
  2. Gunter von Minckwitz et al., Trastuzumab Emtansine for Residual Invasive HER2-Positive Breast Cancer, N Engl J Med 2019; 380:617-628 [Accessed on 19th April 2023],
  3. Barok et al., Trastuzumab emtansine: mechanisms of action and drug resistance, Breast Cancer Research 2014, 16:209, [Accessed on 19th April 2023],
  4. Genentech, Inc. U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [Last Revised 3rd May 2019], [Accessed on 19 April 2023], 


The drug information on this page is not a substitute for medical advice. It is meant for educational purposes only. For further details, consult your doctor about your medical condition to know if you can receive this treatment.