pertuzumab (Perjeta)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: pertuzumab

BRAND NAME: Perjeta

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Pertuzumab is an intravenous drug that is used to treat breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast (metastasized). It belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies. Other monoclonal antibodies used for treating breast cancer include trastuzumab (Herceptin) and ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla). The cells of cancers have various receptors on their surfaces. Chemicals bind to these receptors and cause changes within the cancer cells. One of the receptors that occurs in about one-third of all breast cancers is called HER2. HER2 is known to control the growth and development of the cancer cells and the production of new cancer cells. If HER2 receptors are present in large numbers on the cancer cells (often referred to as overexpression of HER2), then the cancer cells may multiply and grow quickly. Normally, the immune system produces antibodies that will detect and attack HER2 receptors to slow the growth of cancer cells However, if HER2 is present in large amounts, the immune system may be unable to control HER2. Pertuzumab is a man-made antibody developed using molecular cloning and recombinant DNA technology. Pertuzumab is thought to block the HER2 receptors when there is overexpression, thereby blocking growth of the cancer. The FDA approved pertuzumab in June 2012.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Pertuzumab is combined with trastuzumab and docetaxel for treatment of patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) who have not received prior anti-HER2 therapy or other cancer drugs.

Pertuzumab also is combined with trastuzumab and docetaxel (Taxotere) for neoadjuvant treatment (i.e., combined with surgery) of HER2-positive, locally advanced, inflammatory, or early stage breast cancer as part of a complete treatment regimen for early breast cancer.

SIDE EFFECTS WARNING:

  • Pertuzumab may reduce left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and impair the function of the heart. Patients should have normal LVEF before starting pertuzumab, and LVEF should be monitored during treatment.
  • Infusion-related reactions may occur. If a significant infusion-associated reaction occurs, the infusion should be slowed or interrupted ,and appropriate medications to control the reaction should be given.
  • Serious allergic reactions may occur. If a severe allergic reaction occurs the infusion should be stopped and appropriate treatment for the allergic reaction should be given
  • HER2 testing should be performed using FDA-approved tests.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/30/2015

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