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Roche's pertuzumab helps breast cancer patients

Last Updated: 2011-07-15 13:47:28 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Katie Reid

ZURICH (Reuters) - Patients with advanced breast cancer lived significantly longer without their disease getting worse when treated with Roche's pertuzumab and Herceptin along with a type of chemotherapy, a late-stage study showed.

The Swiss drugmaker said on Friday it planned to seek approval with health authorities based on these results this year.

The study showed that patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer taking this combined therapy of targeted medicines and docetaxel chemotherapy lived for longer without their disease getting worse compared with those who only received Herceptin and the chemotherapy, Roche said.

Roche, the world's largest maker of cancer drugs, said no new safety signals were observed in the trial in which Roche met its primary endpoint of progression-free survival (PFS).

Late last year, a clinical trial showed that combining experimental antibody drug pertuzumab with Herceptin, an antibody that was first approved in 1998, and chemotherapy shrank tumors in nearly half of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.

Both antibodies are designed to block the function of HER2, a protein produced by a specific gene with cancer-causing potential that is generated in about 25 percent of breast cancers. Because the drugs bind to different regions of the HER2 receptor, researchers aim for more complete blockage of the pathway.

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