Novel Agents Emerging in Pipeline for HER2+ Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“There have been significant advances for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer over the last decade, says Denise A. Yardley, MD.

“ ‘When we look at the HER2-positive patient, at this point, we have really come a long way with the initial approval of trastuzumab (Herceptin), followed by the addition of pertuzumab (Perjeta), based on the CLEOPATRA data,’ explains Yardley, senior investigator, Breast Cancer Research Program, principal investigator, Sarah Cannon Research Institute. ‘The EMILIA trial has now added T-DM1 (ado-trastuzumab emtansine; Kadcyla), a novel antibody-drug conjugate targeted against HER2.’

“While these FDA approvals have made a large impact for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, there is still more work to be done. ‘We are really trying to extend the number of novel agents to add to the HER2-population arena,’ Yardley notes.”

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Pertuzumab Not Cost Effective in Metastatic HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

“Though the addition of pertuzumab to docetaxel and trastuzumab as first-line therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer has been shown to yield a substantial survival benefit, a new analysis shows that there is very little chance that pertuzumab would be cost effective in the United States.

“The CLEOPATRA trial showed that pertuzumab along with docetaxel and trastuzumab (THP) resulted in a median survival in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer patients of 56.5 months, compared with only 40.8 months for the latter two drugs alone (TH). ‘These exceptional results come at a price,’ wrote researchers led by Ben Y. Durkee, MD, PhD, of Stanford University in California. ‘Our work shows that an insurer could expect to pay $4,649 per week for the THP regimen at Medicare rates. Private contractors and smaller entities would pay more.’

“The researchers used a decision-analytic Markov model to evaluate the regimen’s cost effectiveness, based on the study population from CLEOPATRA and the assumed number of patients for whom the THP regimen would be recommended in the metastatic setting. Results were published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.”


More Lessons from CLEOPATRA Trial: Benefits of Adding Perjeta

“Clinical trials generate massive amounts of data, which can be difficult to summarize in a 10-minute presentation at a medical conference.

“However, every study and every presentation related to the study have ‘money slides,’ the critical information for clinicians, researchers, and patients. Homing in on money slides can help reduce the time, effort, and confusion related to sorting out the results and meaning of clinical studies.

“At the 2014 meeting of the European Society of Medical Oncology, investigators reported practice-changing results from a randomized clinical trial in advanced breast cancer. In the accompanying video, Joseph Sparano, MD, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, uses the concept of money slides to offer a concise yet complete assessment of the CLEOPATRA trial results and implications.”


The Role of Pertuzumab in Treating HER2+ Breast Cancer


Pertuzumab (Perjeta) is a relatively new drug that targets HER2, a protein found at higher-than-normal levels in about 15% to 20% of all breast cancers. Too much HER2 leads to tumor growth. Currently, all newly diagnosed breast cancer patients have their tumors’ HER2 levels tested. Knowing whether a patient’s HER2 levels are abnormally high (HER2-positive) or normal (HER2-negative) is a major factor in choosing a treatment, thanks to the availability of trastuzumab (Herceptin) and, now, other HER2-targeted drugs such as Perjeta, T-DM1 (Kadcyla), and lapatinib (Tykerb). These drugs are all used to treat HER2-positive patients. Continue reading…


CLEOPATRA Analysis Shows That HER2 Is Sole Marker Suitable for Selection of Pertuzumab/Trastuzumab-Based Treatment in Metastatic Breast Cancer

The gist: Some metastatic breast cancer patients can be treated with a combination of the drugs pertuzumab (Perjeta) and trastuzumab (Herceptin). New research shows that, when deciding whether to use the combo for a patient, the only tumor mutation an oncologist must consider is HER2. HER2 is one of many tumor mutations that could potentially be used to predict whether a certain treatment will work. The new research showed that, while only HER2 is necessary for the treatment decision, other biomarkers like HER3 and PIK3CA might help predict how well the treatment will work for a patient.

“In an analysis in the CLEOPATRA trial population reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Baselga et al found that HER2 was the only biomarker suitable for use in selecting patients for first-line pertuzumab (Perjeta)/trastuzumab (Herceptin)-based treatment in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer…

“The study involved analysis of mandatory tumor and serum samples from 808 patients receiving first-line pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and docetaxel vs trastuzumab and docetaxel in CLEOPATRA. Samples were assessed (58%–99.8% assessable) for amphiregulin, betacellulin, EGF, transforming growth factor alpha,  EGFR, HER2, HER3, insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor, PTEN, phosphorylated AKT, PIK3CA, CMYC, serum HER2 extracellular domain (sHER2), and FCγR. The CLEOPATRA trial showed significant increases in progression-free survival and overall survival with the addition of pertuzumab…

“The investigators concluded: ‘Through comprehensive prospective analyses, CLEOPATRA biomarker data demonstrate that HER2 is the only marker suited for patient selection for the trastuzumab plus pertuzumab-based regimen in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. HER2, HER3, and PIK3CA were relevant prognostic factors.’ “