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Survival Extension

In a presentation at the European Society for Medical Oncology, researchers reported that Roche's Perjeta (pertuzumab) could extend patients' lives, the New York Times reports.

According to lead researcher Sandra Swain from the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, patients who received the drug, which treats metastatic breast cancer, had a median survival time 16 months longer than those in the control group.

Perjeta targets the HER2 protein, which is overexpressed in some 20 percent of breast cancers, and it is supposed to be used in conjunction with another Roche drug, Herceptin (trastuzumab), which is directed at a different part of the same protein.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved Perjeta in 2012 through a priority review, as Pharmacogenomics Reporter noted at the time.

The Times says it is now the standard of care in the US, though only about half of eligible women receive the drug. It notes that this study, which the drugmaker funded, could lead to an uptick in use.