A shorter Herceptin (trastuzumab) treatment — six months instead of the standard 12 months —
is equally effective and carries fewer heart-related adverse effects, a Phase 3 clinical trial found.
The results will be presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting beginning June 4, in Chicago, in a presentation titled “PERSEPHONE: 6 versus 12 months (m) of adjuvant trastuzumab in patients (pts) with HER2 positive (+) early breast cancer (EBC): Randomised phase 3 non-inferiority trial with definitive 4-year (yr) disease-free survival (DFS) results.”
Approximately one in five patients with breast cancer is positive for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). HER2-positive is a term used to describe cancer cells that express high levels of this cell-surface protein, leading to increased tumor growth and potential to spread.
Herceptin, from Genentech, is an approved immunotherapy for this aggressive type of breast cancer – as a single treatment or in combination with chemotherapy. Herceptin binds to HER2, blocking its function and leading to cell death. Among the therapy’s adverse effects, heart damage (cardiomyopathy) has been the most concerning.
The standard Herceptin therapy takes 12 months, but its optimum duration has been debated, as some studies have suggested that