What is Perjeta® ? (pertuzumab)

Perjeta is a targeted treatment used in combination with Herceptin (trastuzumab) and chemotherapy for advanced or early-stage breast cancer that is HER2+ (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive). Perjeta is manufactured by Genentech.1

What is the active ingredient in Perjeta?

The active ingredient in Perjeta is pertuzumab, an HER2 receptor antagonist, which blocks the HER2 receptor.1

How does Perjeta work?

Breast cancers that are HER2+ have an excess of HER2 receptors. Perjeta targets these receptors and blocks them, which can lead to the cancer cell’s death. Perjeta is used in combination with Herceptin and chemotherapy. Herceptin also targets HER2 receptors, but Perjeta and Herceptin work on different parts of this receptor. Combining Perjeta with Herceptin and chemotherapy can target the cancer cells in multiple ways.1,2

What are some of the possible side effects of Perjeta?

Perjeta may cause serious side effects, including heart problems. Early signs of heart problems may include shortness of breath, cough, swelling of the ankles or legs, swelling of the face, heart palpitations, rapid weight gain (more than 5 pounds in 24 hours), dizziness, or loss of consciousness. People receiving Perjeta that experience any of these symptoms should get immediate medical attention.1,2

Perjeta can cause birth defects to an unborn fetus which may lead to the death of the unborn baby, and Perjeta should not be used by women who are pregnant.1,2

Some people receiving Perjeta experience serious allergic reactions to the medication. Any signs of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing and/or swelling of throat or face, should be immediately brought to the attention of a healthcare professional.1,2

Perjeta is delivered by intravenous (IV) infusion and may cause an infusion-related reaction, which can cause symptoms such as1,2:

  • Fatigue
  • Altered taste
  • Muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Allergic reactions
  • Fever or chills

The most common side effects experienced by women with metastatic breast cancer who received Perjeta in combination with Herceptin and chemotherapy include1,2:

  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Lowered white blood cell counts
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Damage to the nerves in the hands and/or feet (peripheral neuropathy), which may cause tingling, numbness, or pain

Things to know about Perjeta

Because Perjeta can cause birth defects or fatal harm to an unborn fetus, women who can become pregnant who receive Perjeta should use birth control during their treatment and for 7 months after treatment is completed.1,2

Perjeta should not be used by women who are breastfeeding, as it may cause harm to the child. Women who are breastfeeding should discuss stopping breastfeeding with their doctor before receiving treatment with Perjeta.1,2

Because Perjeta may cause heart damage, heart function tests may be performed before and during treatment with Perjeta. Based on the results of these tests, your treatment with Perjeta may be paused or stopped.1,2

Dosing information

Perjeta is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion, and the infusion usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes. Other additional treatments, such as Herceptin and chemotherapy, will take additional time for infusion administration when given in combination with Perjeta infusion.1

Patients should talk to their doctor if they have any questions, or if they have questions regarding their Perjeta regimen.

View References
  1. Perjeta prescribing information. Genentech USA, Inc. Available at https://www.gene.com/download/pdf/perjeta_prescribing.pdf. Accessed 9/5/18.
  2. Perjeta product website. Genentech USA, Inc. Available at https://www.perjeta.com/patient/breast-cancer/metastatic.html. Accessed 9/5/18.