Pertuzumab/trastuzumab (fixed-dose combination (FDC) in addition to chemotherapy is in clinical development as a subcutaneous formulation (SC) for the adjuvant treatment of adults with the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive early and metastatic breast cancer. HER2 positive breast cancer is a subtype in which the HER2 receptor is over expressed on the cell surface. HER2 promotes the growth of cancer cells and this breast cancer subtype tends to be more aggressive than other types. Metastatic breast cancer is when cancer has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other organs in the body. Treatment of the disease often involves the use of anti-HER2 therapies, chemotherapy or a combination of both.
Pertuzumab, is a monoclonal antibody, a type of protein that attaches to HER2 and activates the immune system (the body’s natural defences) which result in growth arrest and death of cancer cells. Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that attaches to the HER2 protein and activates cells of the immune system which results in growth inhibition and death of cancer cells. Pertuzumab provides additional benefits when added to other medicines for HER-positive cancer, notably trastuzumab. Pertuzumab in combination with trastuzumab and chemotherapy is a treatment option for HER2-positive early and metastatic breast cancer as either in subcutaneous (SC) or intravenous (IV) formulation. However, pertuzumab and trastuzumab in a FDC with chemotherapy given subcutaneously will offer a new formulation for patients with HER2-positive early and metastatic breast cancer.
Pembrolizumab is an immunomodulatory medicinal product, meaning that it helps the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. It is administered by intravenous infusion and is currently licensed in the UK for melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and urothelial cancer – amongst others. If licensed, pembrolizumab, in addition to chemotherapy, would offer an alternative treatment for those with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.