In final draft guidance, NICE has approved Perjeta – given in combination with trastuzumab and chemotherapy – as a new option after surgery for some patients with early breast cancer, to help further reduce the risk of recurrence or metastasis.

Around a quarter of patients diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer experience a recurrence, and patients whose cancer has spread to their lymph nodes are at higher risk of their disease coming back.

Trials found that adding Perjeta to trastuzumab and docetaxel improved four-year invasive disease-free survival in patients whose breast cancers were HER2-positive and had spread to the lymph nodes.

The evidence suggests that 89.9% of patients taking the triple combination were free of invasive disease after four years, compared to 86.7% of those who were treated with trastuzumab and docetaxel – an improvement of 3.2 percentage points.

It is estimated that around 2,700 women each year in England (with HER2-positive node-positive early breast cancer) will now be eligible to benefit from Perjeta after their surgery.

Mia Rosenblatt, Assistant Director of Policy and Campaigns at Breast Cancer Now, said:

We’re delighted that thousands of patients with early breast cancer will be able to benefit from this promising new use of Perjeta on the NHS.

The fear of breast cancer returning or spreading can cause major anxiety for so many women, and it’s fantastic that adding Perjeta to trastuzumab and chemotherapy can now offer another step forward in reducing their risk of recurrence.

Trastuzumab has been one of the greatest advances in treating breast cancer in recent decades, and it’s really exciting that adding Perjeta will stop the disease returning in even more women. Incremental advances like this will be absolutely vital to reaching our vision that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live – and live well.

We hope that Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will soon be able to follow suit in making Perjeta available for patients whose cancer has spread to their lymph nodes, and look forward to understanding the long-term benefits of this treatment combination.