Final overall survival analysis from the Cleopatra study of first-line pertuzumab, trastuzumab and docetaxel in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer

SUMMARY: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US and about 1 in 8 women (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Approximately, 233,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2014 and 40,000 women will die of the disease. The HER or erbB family of receptors consist of HER1, HER2, HER3 and HER4. Approximately 15%-20% of invasive breast cancers overexpress HER2/neu oncogene, which is a negative predictor of outcomes without systemic therapy. HERCEPTIN® (Trastuzumab) is a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting HER2. Trastuzumab binds to subdomain IV of the HER2 extracellular domain and blocks the downstream cell signaling pathways (PI3K-AKT pathway) and induces Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADCC). HERCEPTIN® in combination with chemotherapy has been proven to significantly improve Progression Free Survival and Overall Survival in patients with advanced breast cancer. Despite this benefit, majority of these patients develop progressive disease within 18 months. The tumors in these patients continue to express HER2 although the lower sensitivity to HER2 targeted agents has been attributed to HER2 independent escape mechanisms. Treatment strategies for this patient population have included switching chemotherapy in subsequent lines of treatment and continuing HERCEPTIN®, combining another HER2 targeted agent, Lapatinib (TYKERB®) with Capecitabine (XELODA®) and dual HER2 inhibition with a combination of HERCEPTIN® and TYKERB®. PERJETA® (Pertuzumab) is a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to the HER2 at a different epitope of the HER2 extracellular domain (subdomain II) compared to HERCEPTIN® and prevents the dimerization of HER2 with HER3 receptor. PERJETA® stimulates antibody-dependent, cell-mediated cytotoxicity similar to HERCEPTIN®. By combining HERCEPTIN® and PERJETA®, a more comprehensive blockade of HER2 signaling can be accomplished, as these two agents bind to different HER2 epitopes and may complement each other and improve efficacy, as was demonstrated in early phase trials. The CLEOPATRA trial is a phase III study in which 808 treatment naive HER positive metastatic breast cancer patients, were randomly assigned to receive either HERCEPTIN® plus Docetaxel or this two drug combination given along with PERJETA®. PERJETA® was given as an 840 mg loading dose followed by a 420 mg maintenance dose, HERCEPTIN® was given as an 8 mg/kg loading dose followed by a 6 mg/kg maintenance dose and Docetaxel was given at 75 mg/m2 for at least 6 cycles. Treatment was administered every 3 weeks and continued until disease progression. The primary end point of this study was Progression Free Survival and secondary end points included Overall Survival, objective response rate and safety. A previous analysis performed in May 2012 showed that the addition of PERJETA® to the combination of HERCEPTIN® and Docetaxel significantly prolonged Progression Free Survival compared to HERCEPTIN® plus Docetaxel alone (18.5 months vs 12.4 months) but the median overall survival had not been reached then. In this final Overall Survival analysis, at a median follow up of 50 months, median Overall Survival was 56.5 months with the PERJETA® combination compared to 40.8 months in the non-PERJETA® group (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.68; P=0.0002). This meant that adding PERJETA® to HERCEPTIN® and Docetaxel increased the median Overall Survival by 15.7 months. The increase in Progression Free Survival by 6.3 months with the PERJETA® combination, was again maintained (HR = 0.68, P < 0.0001) at the time of the final analysis. The incidence of symptomatic left ventricular dysfunction as well as declines in left ventricular ejection fraction, were rare and similar between the two treatment groups. Based on the CLEOPATRA study, women with HER positive metastatic breast cancer, should be considered candidates, for treatment with a combination of PERJETA®, HERCEPTIN® and Docetaxel. Swain S, Kim S, Cortes J, et al. Presented at: the 2014 Congress of the European Society of Medical Oncology; September 26-30, 2014; Madrid, Spain. Abstract 350O