More than 1,800 breast cancer patients could benefit from a drug that has been approved by UK regulators.
Pertuzumab known by its brand name, Perjeta is a treatment used to target the HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) protein that is found on the surface of some cancer cells.
The drug combats cancers with large amounts of the protein by preventing cell growth. Perjeta is also used for secondary and recurrent breast cancer as well as in clinical trials for ovarian and prostate cancer.
Perjeta was already licensed for use against advanced breast cancer but its new licence means thousands of women with early but aggressive breast cancer could be given the drug to reduce and control their tumours before surgery.
Around 15% of women with early-stage breast cancer have HER2-positive tumours that tend to grown much quicker than other breast cancers.
These tumours have a higher-than-normal level of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 and tend to grow more quickly than other breast cancers.
Although neither the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) or the Scottish Medicines Consortium have recommended Perjeta for widespread NHS use, patients in England with advanced breast cancer can obtain the drug through the government's Cancer Drugs Fund.
Making Perjeta accessible to patients with early-stage breast cancer is vital. When combined with the biological therapy trastuzumab (Herceptin) and the chemotherapy drug docetaxel (Taxotere), Perjeta can not only shrink tumours and reduce the chances of their cancer spreading but it can also spare them having to undergo a mastectomy and keep them cancer-free for longer.
More than 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK and the disease remains one of the most common forms of cancer in Britain. Early diagnosis and treatment regardless of a patient’s age is key and will usually heighten the chances of a successful outcome.
Slater and Gordon help people who have suffered from delayed or wrong diagnosis of cancer due to Medical Negligence.