Ramón y Cajal University Hospital and its Health Research Institute IRYCIS are participating in the study of the new therapeutic strategy that could prevent chemotherapy in early HER-2+ breast cancer. Specifically, Medsir, a global company dedicated to clinical research in oncology, presents the continuation of the clinical trial ‘PHERGain-II’.
This aims to demonstrate that in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer with good prognosis, a chemotherapy-free therapeutic approach can be as effective as the current standard of care, which involves the use of this generally more toxic treatment.
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the purpose of PHERGain-II is aligned with one of the main priorities in cancer research: that clinical research in oncology prioritizes the reduction of toxicity associated with cancer treatment.
“Given the side effects and impact of chemotherapy on the quality of life of patients with early breast cancer, it is important to develop therapeutic de-escalation strategies that allow the elimination of traditional systemic chemotherapy in correctly selected patient profiles,” says Dr Alfonso Cortés, principal investigator of the study and medical oncologist at the Ramón y Cajal University Hospital/IRYCIS.
“This study could mean in the near future the end of chemotherapy in a significant percentage of patients with this type of tumor,” explains Doctor Cortés. Precisely, HER-2+ breast cancer is a type of cancer with high presence of the human epidemic growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), a protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells.
When these tumors are found early, they are removed by surgery and treated with therapies aimed at blocking HER-2. However, even in patients with a good prognosis, combination with chemotherapy remains part of standard treatment to prevent tumor recurrence after surgery.
Also, the ‘PHERGain-II’ trial will give patients preoperative treatment with trastuzumab and pertuzumab, drugs aimed at blocking HER-2, without chemotherapy. Tumors will be scanned by MRI before and after treatment to see if it is possible to predict the level of pathological response achieved after treatment.
After surgery, treatment will be continued with the same combination of drugs or with T-DM1 (another HER-2 blocking drug), reserving the use of chemotherapy only to those patients who have responded worst to preoperative treatment and who have a worse prognosis.