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HEALTH & WELLNESS

FDA extends one breast cancer treatment drug's reach

Kristen Fischer is a writer living at the Jersey Shore. In addition to writing for SheKnows, she has penned articles for Prevention, Health, Woman's Day, BELLA, and New Jersey Monthly. Kristen enjoys spending time with her family, friend...

Perjeta OK'd for early stage breast cancer

The FDA is expanding the use of Perjeta, a breast cancer drug, for patients with early stage breast cancer.
Perjeta

Perjeta OK'd
for early stage breast cancer

The FDA is expanding the use of Perjeta, a breast cancer drug, for patients with early stage breast cancer.

A breast cancer drug has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand its usage.

Perjeta (pertuzumab) has been approved to treat early stage breast cancer prior to surgery. The drug is the first approved by the regulatory body for neoadjuvant breast cancer treatment. A neoadjuvant treatment aims to reduce the disease before a larger treatment.

Last year, the drug was approved for advanced or late-stage (metastatic) HER2-positive breast cancer patients. Those types of breast cancers have a higher amount of the HER2 protein, which aids in cancer cell growth and resiliency.

The new approval will see Perjeta used by patients with HER2-positive, locally advanced, inflammatory or early stage breast cancer. That means it will be used in women with a tumor larger than two centimeters in diameter, or with positive lymph nodes, who are at a high risk for the cancer to return or spread — or have a high fatality chance. It is to be used in combination with trastuzumab and other chemotherapy before surgery. Depending on the treatment plan, it may be followed by chemotherapy. After surgery, patients should continue on trastuzumab to complete a full year of treatment.

"We are seeing a significant shift in the treatment paradigm for early stage breast cancer," said Richard Pazdur, an MD with the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "By making effective therapies available to high-risk patients in the earliest disease setting, we may delay or prevent cancer recurrences."

In other related news, scientists have found that the number of black women who are diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing.

More news on breast cancer

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What you need to know about the Affordable Care Act
The latest drug that may increase your breast cancer risk

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