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FDA Approves Genentech’s Perjeta (Pertuzumab) for Adjuvant Treatment of Specific Type of Early Breast Cancer

South San Francisco, CA -- December 20, 2017 -- Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Perjeta ® (pertuzumab), in combination with Herceptin® (trastuzumab) and chemotherapy (the Perjeta-based regimen), for adjuvant (after surgery) treatment of HER2-positive early breast cancer (EBC) at high risk of recurrence. People should receive the adjuvant Perjeta-based regimen for one year (up to 18 cycles). The FDA has also converted the previously granted accelerated approval of the Perjeta-based regimen to full approval for neoadjuvant (before surgery) treatment of HER2-positive, locally advanced, inflammatory, or early stage breast cancer (either greater than two centimeters in diameter or node-positive). People receiving the neoadjuvant Perjeta-based regimen should continue Perjeta and Herceptin after surgery to complete one year of treatment.

“The goal of treating breast cancer early is to provide people with the best chance for a cure. While we come closer to this goal with each advance, many people still have a recurrence and progress to the metastatic stage,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “Today’s approval of Perjeta means people with HER2-positive early breast cancer at high risk of recurrence have a new, clinically meaningful treatment option to reduce the chances of their disease returning.”

The FDA-approved use of the Perjeta-based regimen for adjuvant treatment of HER2-positive EBC at high risk of recurrence is based on results of the Phase III APHINITY study. At the time of the primary analysis with a median of 45.4 months follow-up:

  • In the overall study population, Perjeta, Herceptin and chemotherapy significantly reduced the risk of invasive breast cancer recurrence or death by 18 percent compared to Herceptin and chemotherapy alone (HR=0.82, 95% CI 0.67-1.00, p=0.047).
  • High-risk patients included patients such as those with lymph node-positive or hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. The subgroup results were as follows:
    • Lymph node-positive subgroup (HR=0.77, 95% CI 0.62-0.96)
    • Hormone receptor-negative subgroup (HR=0.76, 95% CI 0.56-1.04)
    • Hormone receptor-positive subgroup (HR=0.86, 95% CI 0.66-1.13)
    • Lymph node-negative subgroup (HR=1.13, 95% CI 0.68-1.86)

The most common severe (Grade 3-4) side effects with the Perjeta-based regimen are low levels of white blood cells with or without a fever, diarrhea, decrease in certain types of white blood cells, decrease in red blood cells, fatigue, nausea and mouth blisters or sores. The most common side effects are diarrhea, nausea, hair loss, fatigue, nerve damage and vomiting.

The supplemental Biologics License Application for the Perjeta-based regimen for adjuvant treatment of HER2-positive EBC was granted Priority Review, a designation given to medicines the FDA has determined to have the potential to provide significant improvements in the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of a disease.

Perjeta is also approved for use in combination with Herceptin and docetaxel in people who have HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to different parts of the body (metastatic) and who have not received anti-HER2 therapy or chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer.

For those who qualify, Genentech offers patient assistance programs for people prescribed Perjeta and Herceptin by their doctor through Genentech Access Solutions. Please contact Genentech Access Solutions at (866) 422-2377 or visit for more information.


APHINITY (Adjuvant Pertuzumab andHerceptin IN Initial TherapY in Breast Cancer, NCT01358877/ BO25126/ BIG 4-11) is an international, Phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-arm study evaluating the efficacy and safety of Perjeta plus Herceptin and chemotherapy compared to Herceptin and chemotherapy as adjuvant therapy in 4,805 people with operable HER2-positive EBC. The primary efficacy endpoint of the APHINITY study is invasive disease-free survival (iDFS), which in this study is defined as the time a patient lives without return of invasive breast cancer at any site or death from any cause after adjuvant treatment. Secondary endpoints include cardiac and overall safety, overall survival, disease-free survival and health-related quality of life. The study will continue to follow participants for ten years.

About Perjeta

Perjeta is a medicine that targets the HER2 receptor, a protein found on the outside of many normal cells and in high quantities on the outside of cancer cells in HER2-positive cancers. Perjeta is designed specifically to prevent the HER2 receptor from pairing (or ‘dimerizing’) with other HER receptors (EGFR/HER1, HER3 and HER4) on the surface of cells, a process that is believed to play a role in tumor growth and survival. Binding of Perjeta to HER2 may also signal the body’s immune system to destroy the cancer cells. The mechanisms of action of Perjeta and Herceptin are believed to complement each other, as both bind to the HER2 receptor, but to different places. The combination of Perjeta and Herceptin is thought to provide a more comprehensive, dual blockade of HER signaling pathways, thus preventing tumor cell growth and survival.

About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 255,180 people in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 41,070 will die from the disease in 2017. In HER2-positive breast cancer, increased quantities of the Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2 (HER2) are present on the surface of tumor cells. This is known as “HER2 positivity” and affects approximately 15-20 percent of people with breast cancer. HER2-positive cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer.

About Genentech in HER2-positive Breast Cancer

Genentech has spent more than 30 years studying the role of HER2 in cancer, and Perjeta is a result of this research. A diagnostic test is used to determine if a person’s tumor is HER2-positive and whether treatment with HER2-targeted medicines is appropriate.

About Genentech Access Solutions

Access Solutions is part of Genentech’s commitment to helping people access the Genentech medicines they are prescribed, regardless of their ability to pay. The team of in-house specialists at Access Solutions is dedicated to helping people navigate the access and reimbursement process, and to providing assistance to eligible patients in the United States who are uninsured or cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs for their medicine. To date, the team has helped more than 1.4 million patients access the medicines they need. Please contact Access Solutions (866) 4ACCESS/(866) 422-2377 or visit for more information.

About Genentech

Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit

Source: Genentech

Posted: December 2017

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