Enhertu (chemical name: fam-trastuzumab-deruxtecan-nxki) is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat currently incurable HER-2-positive breast cancer and metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer that has been treated with two or more anti-HER2 therapies/medicines. About one out of every four breast cancers is HER2-positive. Doctors call Enhertu an antibody-drug conjugate targeted therapy.
The pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca claims that according to the analysis of Phase 3, its drug Enhertu reduced the risk of death or disease progression by 72% compared to existing treatment trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1). Overall, it showed a strong trend towards improved survival rate in treating the currently incurable HER-2 positive breast cancer.
Coupling Enhertu with chemotherapy was proven to be twice as effective in controlling the disease as the similarly intravenous antibody-drug TDM-1 (the current standard of care medication).In addition to this, 75% of the 500 trial patients (from around the globe) for Enhertu showed no progression in their cancer after 12 months, compared to 34.1% of these treated with TDM1. Above all, 94.1% of Enhertu patients survived 12 months of treatment, compared to 85.9% of TDM1 patients.
“These unprecedented data represent that Enhertu might become the new standard of care treatment for patients with HER-2-positive metastatic breast cancer following standard chemotherapy,” said the vice president of Oncology R&D at AstraZeneca.
ENHERTU (5.4mg/kg) is approved in Canada, the EU, Japan, the UK, and the US for the treatment of adult patients. However, the cost for Enhertu intravenous powder for injection 100 mg is around $2,479 for a supply of 1 powder for injection. Critics claim that their use is limited to a minority of people with advanced cancers, and even then only those that meet specific criteria. They don’t work for everyone and they cost a fortune. Whether it will be internationally functional or not, we will have to wait and see.