What has NICE said?

Pertuzumab (Perjeta), with trastuzumab and chemotherapy, is recommended as a possible treatment before surgery for people with certain types of breast cancer.

It should only be used to treat human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer that is:

  • locally advanced

  • inflammatory or

  • early stage and has a high chance of returning.

What does this mean for me?

If you have HER2-positive breast cancer, and your doctor thinks that pertuzumab is the right treatment, you should be able to have it on the NHS.

Pertuzumab should be available on the NHS within 3 months.

If you are not eligible for treatment as described above, you should be able to continue taking pertuzumab until you and your doctor decide it is the right time to stop.

The condition and the treatment

Breast cancer happens when some of the cells in the breast start to grow in an uncontrolled way, forming a lump or tumour. Most breast cancers are found in this early stage, but over time the cancer can spread into surrounding areas. This is called locally advanced breast cancer.

Inflammatory breast cancer is less common but can spread faster. Unlike other breast cancers, inflammatory breast cancer affects the lymph nodes in the breast which causes redness and swelling.

Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2, is a protein that helps cancer cells to grow. HER2-positive breast cancer refers to cancer with high levels of HER2, which is more likely to grow faster.

Pertuzumab is a type of drug called a monoclonal antibody. It stops HER2 from working properly, helping to slow the growth of the cancer.

Noeadjuvant treatment is given before surgery to shrink the tumour and make surgery possible.

NHS Choices may be a good place to find out more.

These organisations can give you advice and support:

NICE is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any information or advice provided by these organisations.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-2244-4

  • Information Standard