BACKGROUND Overexpression and amplification of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) occurs in 20% of total breast carcinomas. HER2-overexpression is implicated in disease initiation and progression and associated with poor prognosis. Trastuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody, is the standard HER2-targeted therapy for early and metastatic HER2-amplified breast cancer patients. Trastuzumab has significantly increased clinical benefit in HER2+ metastatic and adjuvant settings, however, it is not effective for many patients due to primary or acquired resistance to the drug. During the last decade, many studies have revealed a number of novel molecular traits of HER2+ breast cancer, allowing us to uncover the molecular mechanisms involved in trastuzumab resistance and develop strategies to overcome resistance to therapy. OBJECTIVE In this review, we comprehensively addressed the current achievements in preclinical studies; we discussed molecular mechanisms of acquired trastuzumab resistance in HER2+ breast cancer models and potential therapeutic approaches based on the molecular features for HER2+ breast cancer. CONCLUSION Enhanced understanding of the molecular profiles in HER2+ breast cancer may lead to identification of novel biomarkers for development of diagnostic approaches and improvement of therapeutic targets for prevention and treatment of trastuzumab resistant HER2+ breast cancer.