Advances in cancer treatment have seen the development of medicines known as targeted or biological therapies which can help to slow the growth of cancer cells.
Perjeta is a targeted therapy which has been used in the treatment of people with metastatic or advanced HER2-Positive breast cancer.
Perjeta is a fully funded medicine for patients with HER2-positive metastatic Breast Cancer who meet pre-defined criteria.
You can find out more about Perjeta on these pages. Perjeta is not suitable for everyone, so it’s important that you speak with your doctor about whether this medication may be right for you.
On these pages you can learn more about:
- How Perjeta Works
- How Perjeta May Help You
- How is Perjeta Given?
- The Side Effects of Perjeta
- Talking to Your Doctor About Whether Perjeta is Right for You
- Sources of Further Information.
Perjeta, also known as pertuzumab, is given with Herceptin® (trastuzumab) and a chemotherapy called docetaxel (referred to as Herceptin & chemotherapy) to block the cancer growth signals which slows the spread of the cancer more effectively than Herceptin and chemotherapy alone.
Perjeta also sends signals to your immune system that cause it to attack the cancer.
Perjeta targets a different part of the HER2 protein so it works in a complementary way to Herceptin.
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Perjeta is for those with HER2-positive advanced or metastatic breast cancer.
A large clinical study called CLEOPATRA1 looked at how well Perjeta plus Herceptin and chemotherapy (Perjeta group) worked compared to to Herceptin plus chemotherapy alone (control group).
Perjeta helped control the growth & spread of HER2-positive breast cancer.
‘Average time to spread’ is the point in time when 50% of patients experience growth or spread of their cancer.
The results will not be the same for everyone. You will need to speak to your doctor about whether Perjeta is right for you.
Perjeta is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion, which means that the medicine is delivered through a needle that your nurse inserts into a vein. If you’ve been treated for breast cancer before, you will be familiar with this.
If you haven’t received an infusion before, you can ask your doctor or nurse to explain this to you in more detail.
Perjeta is typically given every 3 weeks on the same day as Herceptin and chemotherapy. The number of infusions you will be given depends on how you respond to treatment.
Your First Infusion
The amount of medicine (dose) you are given, and how long each infusion will last, are different for the first and following infusions of Perjeta.
The medicines are given more slowly during your first visit. Your first dose of Perjeta will be given as an IV infusion over 60 minutes. You may be monitored for 30–60 minutes after your Perjeta infusion.
Your Subsequent Infusions
If the first infusion is well-tolerated, subsequent infusions may be given over 30 minutes. This will usually be followed by a 30 to 60 minute observation time.
The infusion may be slowed or interrupted if you experience side-effects or have an allergic reaction. Your doctor will decide on the infusion time that is right for you.
Perjeta and Herceptin may be given alone
Everyone experiences treatment differently. Once you have finished your treatment with chemotherapy, you may continue treatment with Perjeta and Herceptin. Your doctor will decide which treatment schedule is best for you depending on your response and any side-effects that you may experience.
Perjeta helps control the growth and spread of HER2 + advanced breast cancer disease but it may have some unwanted side-effects in some people.
All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may need medical treatment if you get some of the side-effects.
Ask your medical team to answer any questions you may have.
Because Perjeta may be used with other medicines that treat breast cancer, it may be difficult for your doctor to tell whether the side-effects are due to Perjeta or due to the other medicines.
Your medical team is in the best position to help you manage any side-effects so be open with them about any symptoms you notice, whether you think they are caused by Perjeta or not.
For a full list of Perjeta side-effects, or if you want to find out more about Perjeta related side-effects, please look at the the Perjeta Consumer Medicines Information. In the Consumer Medicines Information, look at:Before you are given Perjeta , While you are receiving Perjeta, and Side Effects sections
Perjeta is a fully funded medicine for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who meet pre-defined criteria.
Perjeta is not a cure, but it may give you more time before your cancer grows and spreads. For many people, Perjeta may be able to offer a few extra months and for others it may be able to offer more.
Speak with your doctor about your specific case and the pros and cons of taking Perjeta.
If you’re not sure how to have this discussion with your doctor, we’ve developed a list of common questions which might help you. Have a look at these here.
Remember, Perjeta is not right for everyone and your doctor will need to ask you a number of questions to see if it’s suitable for you.
For more information on Perjeta, you might like to look at the following:
Perjeta® (pertuzumab), 420mg vial, is a Prescription Medicine used to treat patients with metastatic (spreading) breast cancer who have tumours with a large amount of the HER2 protein. Perjeta has risks and benefits. Ask your oncologist if Perjeta is right for you. Use strictly as directed. If symptoms continue or you have side effects, see your healthcare professional. For further information on Perjeta, please talk to your health professional or visit www.medsafe.govt.nz for Perjeta Consumer Medicine Information. Perjeta is a fully funded medicine for patients with HER2-positive metastatic Breast Cancer who meet pre-defined criteria. A prescription charge and normal Doctor's fees may apply.
- Swain S et al. N Engl J Med 2015;372:724-34.