Cancer Home > What Is Pertuzumab Used For?

By interfering with the growth of cancer cells, pertuzumab helps treat certain types of breast cancer. This medication binds to specific receptors on the cancer cells, which can signal the immune system to destroy the cells. Pertuzumab can also be used to treat stomach cancer, although this is an unapproved use.

An Overview of Uses for Pertuzumab

Pertuzumab (Perjeta™) is a prescription medication approved to treat breast cancer. It is part of a group of medications called monoclonal antibodies. Specifically, pertuzumab is approved for use in combination with trastuzumab (Herceptin®) and docetaxel (Taxotere®). It is also licensed for treating metastatic breast cancer (cancer that has spread to other areas) in people with HER2-positive cancer who have not previously been treated with docetaxel or trastuzumab.
Pertuzumab is also approved for neoadjuvant treatment, which means treatment before surgery to help shrink the tumor, of HER2-positive early, inflammatory, or locally advanced (just starting to spread) breast cancer, in combination with trastuzumab and docetaxel. 

Using Pertuzumab for Breast Cancer

Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer, except for skin cancer. Each year, more than 211,000 American women learn that they have breast cancer. Most causes of breast cancer are unknown. In 5 percent to 10 percent of these cases, there is a hereditary (genetic) component. Common symptoms of breast cancer include:
  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
  • A change in how the breast or nipple feels
  • Nipple tenderness
  • A change in how the breast or nipple looks
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • A nipple turned inward into the breast
  • Nipple discharge (fluid).
In general, breast cancer treatment options can include:
The best treatments can vary by the stages of breast cancer (see Breast Cancer Treatment by Stage).
Pertuzumab is considered a biological therapy for breast cancer. Before pertuzumab can be prescribed to a particular person, certain tests must be performed to make sure that the tumor "overexpresses" HER2. When a cell makes a certain receptor or protein, it is said to "express" that receptor or protein. Tumor cells that overexpress HER2 have a high concentration of the HER2 receptor. Not all cancers overexpress HER2, and not all people with breast cancer will benefit from pertuzumab.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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