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FDA approves Perjeta for neoadjuvant breast cancer treatment

Often times, our patients ask us if we, as oncologists in Tarzana and West Hills communities,   keep abreast of the latest treatments and trends in regards to cancer care. In 2013, our relationships with the American Society of Clinical of Oncology, American Society of Hematology,  Medical Oncology Association of Southern California help us stay on top of these treatments and trends on a DAILY basis. It is also enjoyable to discuss these treatments in a team approach  with my colleagues, Dr Omid Shaye and Dr. Ashkan Lashkari with their experiences treating other patients. I wanted to share with you a recent development in regards to breast cancer below:

The FDA  granted accelerated approval to Perjeta (pertuzumab) as part of a complete treatment regimen for patients with early stage breast cancer before surgery on September 30th, 2013.  Perjeta is the first FDA-approved drug for the neoadjuvant treatment of breast cancer.
Perjeta was initially approved by the FDA  in 2012 for  patients with advanced or late-stage HER2-positive breast cancer. Perjeta may only be used in breast cancer patients who are HER2- positive. HER2-positive breast cancers have increased amounts of the HER2 protein that contributes to cancer cell growth and survival.

The approval was based upon a European trial which evaluated 400 women with locally advanced breast cancer and were separated in four groups with similar, but different regimens of taxotere, perjeta and herceptin. Ultimately in the group of women which were given taxotere, perjeta and herceptin, the doctors noted that those patients had a more complete response to the therapy, which is to say that in 45 % of the women had no evidence of the tumor at the time it was removed, compared to the next best group at 29%. In addition, the major side effects were similar in all groups. 

This is good news for patients whose tumor is Her2- positive, and require treatment prior to surgery for a better result both from a cancer standpoint and a cosmetic standpoint as well. 
We have already begun to employ this approach in our clinic, as we have had prior experience with perjeta for metastatic cancer. We are excited for our patients with this new approach in treatment of breast cancer. 
We will continue to update our website during breast cancer awareness month of the latest news and trends.

Dr. Christopher Ho

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