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.

What is pertuzumab, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

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.

What brand names are available for pertuzumab?

Perjeta

Is pertuzumab available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

Do I need a prescription for pertuzumab?

Yes

What are the side effects of pertuzumab?

Common side effects of pertuzumab include:

Pertuzumab also causes heart failure, infusion reactions, and serious allergic reactions. Treatment may also reduce the number of red blood cells (anemia), and reduce the number of platelets and white blood cells. A reduced number of white blood cells increases the risk for febrile neutropenia and infections.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/30/2015

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