Herceptin® (trastuzumab) is a monoclonal antibody for the treatment of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast and gastric cancers. On the 1st May 2016, a subcutaneous (SC) formulation was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. This new listing offers medical oncologists another treatment option for existing and new Herceptin® patients.

Herceptin® SC is a fixed dose, ready to use solution containing 600mg of trastuzumab in 5mL. Volumes greater than 2mL cannot normally be administered via the SC route due to the collagen and hyaluronan fibres in the SC layer. Herceptin® SC has been formulated with recombinant human hyaluronidase to temporarily break down the hyaluronan fibres to facilitate the absorption of larger doses. The effect of the hyaluronidase is restricted to the injection site, and the integrity of the hyaluronan fibres is restored within 24 hours.

The benefits of Herceptin® SC include:

  • Comparable efficacy and exposure compared with Herceptin® IV
  • Greater ease of administration for nursing staff
  • Reduced drug administration time for patients as each injection takes between two to five minutes, compared with 30-90 minutes for Herceptin® IV
  • No loading dose required (in contrast to Herceptin® IV)
  • Dosing is irrespective of body weight, which may offer cost savings for the PBS
  • Dosing is every three weeks for all patients

Herceptin® SC is supplied as a single-use vial which must be refrigerated between 2°C and 8°C. For more information, a great learning tool can be found at www.rocheinteract.com.au.

References:

  1. Herceptin® (trastuzumab) dosing and administration guide. Dee Why: Roche Products Pty Ltd. Prepared March 2016.
  2. Roche. time: Breast Cancer (subcutaneous injection of monoclonal antibodies in Breast Cancer). Dee Why: Roche Products Pty Ltd.

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