Skip to content

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

New Treatments Target Advanced Breast Cancer

Drug Combos Extend Time Before Cancer Gets Worse

The Second Study: One-Two Punch With Pertuzumab, Herceptin continued...

Both drugs target a protein called HER2 that is overproduced in certain breast cancers. The drugs work together in a complementary way, Perez says. She has received research funding from Genentech, which makes the drugs and funded the work.

With the exception of diarrhea and a somewhat lower white blood cell count, women on pertuzumab didn't experience more side effects.

Pertuzumab is now being tested as treatment for women with early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer.

"The challenge going forward will be how best to use the many HER2 therapies now in development," says William Gradishar, MD, director of breast medical oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago.

On the basis of this study, a one-two punch with pertuzumab and Herceptin is a logical choice for women with untreated HER2-positive cancer that has spread, he writes in an editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Perez worries that cost will be an issue if insurers won't cover all the new treatments. Herceptin costs about $4,100 a month, Afinitor between $6,500 and $7,000.  A price for pertuzumab has not been set, but it is likely to be in that range.

1|2

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
 
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
 
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
VIDEO
Resolved To Quit Smoking
SLIDESHOW
 
Woman getting mammogram
Article
Screening Tests for Women
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
serious woman
Article
 
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow
SLIDESHOW