“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."
A trial looking at pertuzumab for breast cancer that has spread (BO16934)
This trial looked at pertuzumab (also called Omnitarg) for breast cancer that had spread.
Doctors can use surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy to treat breast cancer. But sometimes the cancer continues to grow or comes back after treatment. If the cancer spreads outside the breast or comes back in another part of the body, it is called metastatic breast cancer.
Pertuzumab is a monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies are a type of biological therapy. They look for specific proteins on the surface of cells. Pertuzumab looks for a protein called HER2, which is made by some breast cancers. If HER2 is made by the cancer cells, the cancer is called ‘HER2 positive’.
The amount of HER2 protein made varies between different breast cancers. Doctors hoped that pertuzumab would be useful for treating metastatic breast cancers with a low or medium level of HER2.
The aims of the trial were to
- See how well pertuzumab worked
- Compare two different doses
- Learn more about the side effects
Summary of results
The researchers found that pertuzumab did not help women with metastatic breast cancer as much as they had hoped.
The trial recruited 78 women all together. 41 had a low dose of pertuzumab once every 3 weeks.
- In 2 women, the cancer got smaller – doctors call this a
partial response, but this response only lasted in one woman
- In 18 women, the cancer remained the same – researchers call this
- In 21 the cancer got bigger
37 women had a higher dose of pertuzumab
- In 14 women there was stable disease
- In 22 women the cancer got bigger
- The researchers didn’t have results for 1 woman
In 6 women, a partial response or stable disease had lasted for more than 6 months. The number of responses was about the same for both doses.
5 women had side effects during the injection of pertuzumab, including dizziness, rash, chills, fever and shortness of breath. Other side effects included diarrhoea, sickness and weakness.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr David Cameron
Dr Andrew Wardley
Dr David Miles