Health Canada Approves Perjeta Combo Therapy for Early Breast Cancer After Surgery

Health Canada Approves Perjeta Combo Therapy for Early Breast Cancer After Surgery
Health Canada has approved the use of Perjeta (pertuzumab) in combination with Herceptin (trastuzumab) and chemotherapy to prevent the recurrence of early breast cancer after surgery. The combination is meant for women with HER2-positive early breast cancer who have traces of cancer in their lymph nodes and/or have hormone negative disease. It should be given for a year after surgery or until the disease comes back. This approval opens a new treatment opportunity to prevent the spreading and recurrence of this aggressive cancer type, with affects approximately 20 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer. "Our treatment goal for early breast cancer is to cure the disease, and a big part of this is to prevent the disease from coming back," Katarzyna Jerzak, MD, oncologist at Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre, said in a press release. "The data show this new treatment option can be clinically meaningful and can significantly reduce the risk of recurrence for some women with breast cancer," she said. Perjeta, developed by Roche, is an inhibitor of the HER2 receptor, a protein known to participate in breast cancer growth and survival. The medicine works by preventing the HER2 protein from binding the HER3 protein, preventing its signaling. But other HER2 inhibitors, like Herceptin, prevent the HER2 protein from binding to similar HER2 proteins. Researchers believe that blocking both mechanisms could provide a more effective inhibition of the HER2 signaling. Health Canada's decision was supported by data from the ongoing APHINITY Phase 3 trial (NCT01358877), which includes 4,804 patients with operable HER2-positive early breast cancer. Participants were randomized to receive either Perjeta or placebo, in combination with Herceptin and chemotherapy,
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