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Posted by on Jul 27, 2013 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This review evaluated the role of pertuzumab (perjeta) as treatment for metastatic HER2+ breast cancer.

Some background

Relapse rates (the incidence of cancer return) in breast cancer have declined in recent years due to new treatments which specifically target the type of breast cancer a patient has. Permutuzab, for example, is a recently approved drug which specifically targets a complex on the surface of some cancer cells called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (or simply HER2). When the cancer cells posses this complex, the cancer is referred to as a HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer. Pertuzumab works by blocking the activation of HER2 (a process known as dimerization). Blocking HER2 activation by pertuzumab may help to slow tumor growth. Pertuzumab is often prescribed to patients in combination with other treatments, such as trastuzumab (herceptin, another drug directed against the HER2 complex) and docetaxel (a common chemotherapy used for treatment of breast cancers).

Methods & findings

This review analyzed the results of 11 different studies, including more than 1400 patients, which evaluated pertuzumab as treatment for metastatic breast cancer (a cancer that has spread to other organs). These studies found that by adding pertuzumab to a trastuzumab and docetaxel treatment combination, disease progression was slowed by an average of 6.1 months.

Another study reviewed here determined that by adding pertuzumab to patients already receiving trastuzumab, tumor response increased (measured as a shrink in the size of the tumor). The combination of pertuzumab and trastuzumab was found to be more effective than either drug on its own, with a 14.2% difference in the tumor response rate.

The side effects reported due to pertuzumab treatment were minimal, the most common being diarrhea and the development of a skin rash.

The bottom line

In summary, pertuzumab is a safe and effective treatment for metastatic HER2+ breast cancer patients, particularly in combination with trastuzumab.

What’s next?

Consult with your physician regarding pertuzumab in the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer.

Published By :

Clinical Breast Cancer

Date :

Jun 28, 2013

Original Title :

Pertuzumab in Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review.

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