Sacituzumab govitecan (Trodelvy) is an antibody-drug conjugate, a treatment that pairs a chemotherapy medicine with a targeted therapy. It is approved to treat people with metastatic, triple-negative breast cancer.

Sacituzumab govitecan contains an antibody, similar to the cells in your body that attack diseases, that targets a prot

ein that is common in triple-negative breast cancer. The antibody helps deliver a chemotherapy molecule directly to the tumor cells. This helps limit the side effects of the chemotherapy on the healthy cells.

How sacituzumab govitecan works

Sacituzumab govitecan is an antibody-drug conjugate. These medicines include an antibody to direct the treatment to cancer cells and a chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells. Antibody-drug conjugates are designed to better target and kill cancer cells and have fewer effects on the healthy cells in your body. The antibody portion of sacituzumab govitecan targets Trop-2, a protein that is highly expressed on triple-negative breast cancer cells. The chemotherapy part is SN-38, an activated form of irinotecan.

Who gets sacituzumab govitecan

The Food and Drug Administration approved sacituzumab govitecan to treat people with metastatic, triple-negative breast cancer who have gotten at least two previous lines of treatment.

How sacituzumab govitecan is given

Sacituzumab govitecan is given by vein once every 3 weeks. For the first session, the infusion takes 3 hours, but if your body handles it well, it can be given in 1 to 2 hours in future appointments. Sacituzumab govitecan is given until the cancer grows again or until severe side effects develop.

Side effects and things to remember

Common side effects with sacituzumab govitecan include:


• Low white blood cell count

Nausea and vomiting


Low red blood cell count

Hair loss

• Constipation

• Rash

Stomach pain

• Decreased appetite

Sacituzumab govitecan comes with warnings for neutropenia, a decrease in the level of certain white blood cells, and severe diarrhea. Neutropenia is found by your doctor through a blood test and may result in changes to your treatment. You should let your doctor know if you have any signs of infection such as fever, chills, trouble breathing, coughing, or pain while urinating. Tell your doctor immediately if you get diarrhea while taking sacituzumab govitecan. Most cases of diarrhea are resolved with medicine.

Tell your doctor about any medicines you are already taking, any existing medical conditions (especially liver problems). Sacituzumab govitecan is not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and women should try not to become pregnant while taking it.

Your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse can help you manage your side effects. You can also read more from LBBC on side effects and metastatic breast cancer.


Reviewed and updated: December 15, 2020

Reviewed by: Stephanie Graff MD, FACP


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Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to create a world that understands there is more than one way to have breast cancer. To fulfill its mission of providing trusted information and a community of support to those impacted by the disease, Living Beyond Breast Cancer offers on-demand emotional, practical, and evidence-based content. For over 30 years, the organization has remained committed to creating a culture of acceptance — where sharing the diversity of the lived experience of breast cancer fosters self-advocacy and hope. For more information, learn more about our programs and services.