Abstract Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-overexpressing (HER2+) breast cancer occurs in 20% to 25% of cases and is associated with poor prognosis. Trastuzumab (Herceptin; Genentech, South San Francisco, CA) is a monoclonal antibody targeting the HER2 extracellular domain that has been shown to significantly reduce relapse rates. However, some patients with HER2+ tumors do not respond to Herceptin, and 60% to 85% of patients with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer acquire resistance within a short time period. In this review, we discuss proposed mechanisms of action of trastuzumab and trastuzumab resistance and various drugs that have been developed to overcome drug resistance. We introduce the basal molecular subtype as a predictor of increased risk in HER2+ breast cancer and a possible alternative cause of drug resistance.