The primary use of Perjeta is to treat breast cancer. It is approved only for adults and in combination with certain other medications. This medicine is specifically designed to treat certain forms of breast cancer that have spread to other areas and have certain receptors on the cancer cells. Using this drug to treat stomach cancer is a possible "off-label" use.
What Is Perjeta Used For?
Perjeta™ (pertuzumab) is a prescription medication used to treat breast cancer. It is part of a group of medications called monoclonal antibodies. Specifically, Perjeta is approved for use in combination with trastuzumab (Herceptin®) and docetaxel (Taxotere®). It is also licensed for treating metastatic breast cancer (cancer that has spread to other areas) in people with HER2-positive cancer who have not previously been treated with docetaxel or trastuzumab.
Perjeta is also approved for neoadjuvant treatment, which means treatment before surgery to help shrink the tumor, of HER2-positive early, inflammatory, or locally advanced (just starting to spread) breast cancer, in combination with trastuzumab and docetaxel.
Using Perjeta for Breast CancerWomen in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer, except for skin cancer. Each year, more than 211,000 American women learn that they have breast cancer. Most causes of breast cancer are unknown. In 5 percent to 10 percent of these cases, there is a hereditary (genetic) component. Common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
- A change in how the breast or nipple feels
- Nipple tenderness
- A change in how the breast or nipple looks
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- A nipple turned inward into the breast
- Nipple discharge (fluid).
In general, breast cancer treatment options can include:
- Surgery (see Breast Cancer Surgery)
- Radiation therapy (see Breast Cancer Radiation)
- Chemotherapy (see Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer)
- Hormone therapy (see Breast Cancer Hormone Treatment)
- Biological therapy, such as Perjeta (see Biological Therapy for Breast Cancer).
Perjeta is considered a biological therapy for breast cancer. Before Perjeta can be prescribed to a particular person, certain tests must be performed to make sure that the tumor "overexpresses" HER2. When a cell makes a certain receptor or protein, it is said to "express" that receptor or protein. Tumor cells that overexpress HER2 have a high concentration of the HER2 receptor. Not all cancers overexpress HER2, and not all people with breast cancer will benefit from Perjeta.