Breast cancer medicine Perjeta continues to show impressive results

Breast cancer medicine Perjeta continues to impress clinical researchers with latest results from the NeoSphere study showing its efficacy in treating HER2+ early breast cancer. 

Lead researcher of the Phase-II NeoSphere study, Dr Luca Gianni found patients with HER2+ early breast cancer who received Perjeta (also known as Pertuzumab) in combination with Herceptin and docetaxel chemotherapy prior to surgery improved their chances of a longer-term disease-free survival compared with those who did not receive Perjeta. 

The results, which were presented at the ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) Annual Meeting in Chicago earlier this month, add to the growing scientific evidence of the benefits of Perjeta for breast cancer patients. In late 2014, results from the CLEOPATRA study revealed that patients taking Perjeta for metastatic Her2+ breast cancer had an impressive survival benefit of 15.7 months over those patients who did not receive Perjeta. 

The NeoSphere study (Neoadjuvant Study of Pertuzumab and Herceptin in an Early Regimen Evaluation) is an international study of 417 people with newly diagnosed HER2-positive early breast cancer. Patients were randomized to one of four study arms and received 12 weeks of neoadjuvant treatment (before surgery) followed by one year of adjuvant treatment (after surgery) with Herceptin plus chemotherapy. 

Both progression-free survival (length of time in which the patients’ cancer doesn’t progress) and disease-free survival (length of time in which the patient is disease-free) were measured at five years. Results showed those who received Perjeta in combination with Herceptin and docetaxel chemotherapy had a progression-free survival rate of 86% compared with 81% or less in the other arms of the study. The same patients also showed a disease-free survival rate of 84% at five years compared with 81% or less in those who did not receive Perjeta. The study also reported no new or long term safety concerns and no additional toxicity with the addition of pertuzumab to Herceptin and docetaxel chemotherapy. (Gianni L, et al. American Society for Clinical Oncology 2015; Abstract #505)

Perjeta is one of the important breast cancer medicines that BCAC has requested be made available on the public health system in New Zealand. BCAC Chair Libby Burgess says, “We have known that Perjeta is outstandingly effective in extending the lives of those with advanced HER2+ breast cancer since 2012.   These new results show that it also stops  early HER2+ breast cancer from returning.  Perjeta is available to New Zealand patients who can afford to pay for it but we’d love to see this breakthrough medicine funded for everyone.” 

Late last year it was announced that Perjeta will become available for advanced breast cancer on the Australian public health system in July 2015. BCAC is hopeful that it will soon be funded for both early and late HER2+ breast cancer in New Zealand.

1 July 2015

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