Roche's Perjeta 'unprecedented' in extending breast cancer patients' lives
- In a phase III trial involving 800 women, use of Roche's Perjeta (pertuzumab) in addition to the older cancer medication Herceptin and chemotherapy extended the lives of HER2-positive breast cancer patients by a staggering 15.7 months compared to patients treated with just Herceptin and chemotherapy.
- As Reuters reports, the nearly 16-month increase in survival "is the longest extension to survival ever seen for a drug studied in metastatic breast cancer" -- and of the most impressive figures for the treatment of any metastatic cancer.
- All told, taking Perjeta on top of other medication aimed at blocking the HER2 protein from functioning reduced patients' risk of dying by 32% compared to taking only the older treatments.
Researchers couldn't throw enough praise on Perjeta, irrespective of whether or not they were involved in the study. "The results, I think, are phenomenal," said lead researcher Sandra Swain to the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) annual congress in Madrid on Sunday.
Others noted the lack of significant adverse events associated with use of Perjeta. "When you see in breast cancer such a big change in survival with not a lot of cardio-toxicities, then that is really practice-changing," said Eric Van Cutsem of the University of Leuven.
Perjeta costs about $5,900 per month and Herceptin costs $5,300 per month in the U.S., while prices in Europe are slightly lower. Thomson Reuters analysts expect annual Perjeta sales to top $3.1 billion by 2018.