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Herceptin's long-term benefits shown

Data from the HERA study shows that women with HER2 positive early breast cancer continue to benefit from Herceptin several years after treatment completion

Data from the HERA study, presented at the Primary Therapy in Early Breast Cancer conference in St Gallen, Switzerland this week, shows that women with HER2 positive early breast cancer continue to benefit from Herceptin (trastuzumab) several years after treatment completion and, as a result, enjoy a longer life disease free.

The HERA (HERceptin Adjuvant) study - a large international phase III study conducted as a collaboration between the Breast International Group (BIG) and Roche on 5,000 patients -  demonstrated that women treated with Herceptin exhibited a 25 per cent reduction in the risk of their cancer coming back, compared to women who did not receive Herceptin. After four years of medical observation, almost 90 per cent of the Herceptin-treated women were still alive.

"These important long-term results from the HERA trial reinforce that women with this aggressive type of cancer have the best chance of cure with Herceptin", said William M. Burns, CEO of Roche's pharmaceuticals division. Historically HER2 positive breast cancer has been associated with a poor prognosis, but the first analysis of the HERA trail, released in 2005, established unprecedented benefits in terms disease-free survival.

HERA is the first of the four large Herceptin studies in early HER2 positive breast cancer to substantiate the long-term benefit derived from one year of treatment.

12th March 2009

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