(Family Traits) When Julie J. is not gardening, she works as a hairdresser, which she considers “artistic” and nourishes the soul. She also faces a challenge that more than 150,000 other people in the US face, according to the American Cancer Society — Julie is living with metastatic breast cancer.
This is not a new journey for Julie, as she was first diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2007. As she celebrated 10 years of her cancer in remission, it sadly returned in 2017. This time, Julie was diagnosed with HER2-positive metastatic breast. cancer. She recalls: “It was definitely hard to hear. But I wanted to show my kids that I was strong and hopeful that I could fight cancer again.”
When they received the news, Julie and her husband learned all they could about her cancer and worked with her oncologist to develop a treatment plan. “My oncologist is very compassionate but also honest,” said Julie. “She takes the time to answer all of our questions, which has made all the difference in my treatment journey.”
A treatment that targets the HER2 protein
Working with her healthcare team, Julie discovered that HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a protein found on the surface of cells and associated with tumor growth. About one in five people diagnosed with breast cancer is HER2-positive, meaning cancer cells can grow and spread faster than other types of breast cancer.
Advances in HER2-positive breast cancer treatments have offered patients like Julie several options. In 2020, her oncologist recommended ENHERTU® (fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki), which is FDA-approved for adults with HER2-positive breast cancer that cannot be surgically removed or that has spread to other parts of the body, and who or have had more previous treatments for HER2 breast cancer. ENHERTU was approved by the FDA for this use based on a clinical trial that measured how many patients responded and how long they responded. ENHERTU is still being studied to confirm these results. It is not known if ENHERTU is safe and effective in children.
ENHERTU can cause serious side effects, including lung problems that can be serious, life-threatening, or even death; low white blood cell count; heart problems that can affect your heart’s ability to pump blood; or harm an unborn baby. See important safety information below:.
ENHERTU consists of a monoclonal antibody with a cancer-killing drug and works by targeting HER2 to deliver the cancer-killing drug to the cancer cell. The discovery of HER2-targeted therapies such as ENHERTU has significantly changed the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.
Today, Julie receives an intravenous infusion of ENHERTU once every three weeks. “Now that I have made progress on my previous anti-HER2 therapies, I feel very fortunate to still have a treatment option. Although I have experienced some fatigue and thinning hair, my doctor says I am doing very well” , says Julie.
Patients should talk to their doctor about the treatment option that is right for them.
Julie is optimistic and finds little joys every day. “Sometimes when I’m driving, I take the scenic route. It reminds me that there are beautiful things.”
She also works to inspire others. “Through my story, I want other women living with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer to be reminded that they still have a lot to give, a lot to learn and a lot to live for.”
Important safety information
What is the most important information I should know about ENHERTU?
ENHERTU can cause serious side effects, including:
Lung problems that can be serious, life-threatening, or even death. If you develop lung problems, your health care provider may treat you with corticosteroid medicines. Tell your health insurer provider right away if you get any of the following signs and symptoms:
Cough Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath Fever Other new or worsening respiratory symptoms (e.g. chest tightness, wheezing)
Low white blood cell count (neutropenia). Low white blood cell counts are common with ENHERTU and can sometimes be serious. Your healthcare provider will check your white blood cell count before you start ENHERTU and before you start each dose. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop any signs or symptoms of an infection or develop a fever or chills during treatment with ENHERTU.
Heart problems that can affect your heart’s ability to pump blood. Your healthcare provider will check your heart function before starting treatment with ENHERTU. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following signs and symptoms:
New or worsening shortness of breath Coughing Feeling tired Swelling of your ankles or legs Irregular heartbeat Sudden weight gain Dizziness or light-headedness Loss of consciousness
Your healthcare provider will monitor you for these side effects during your treatment with ENHERTU. Your healthcare provider may lower your dose, delay treatment, or stop treatment with ENHERTU completely if you have serious side effects.
Damage to your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant or think you could be pregnant during treatment with ENHERTU.
If you can become pregnant, your healthcare provider should perform a pregnancy test before starting treatment with ENHERTU. women who could become pregnant must use effective contraception (birth control) during treatment with ENHERTU and for at least 7 months after the last dose. men who have female partners of childbearing potential must use effective contraception (birth control) during treatment with ENHERTU and for at least 4 months after the last dose.
Before you receive ENHERTU, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
Have lung or breathing problems. Have signs or symptoms of an infection. Have or have had heart problems. Are you breast-feeding or planning to breast-feed? It is not known if ENHERTU passes into your breast milk. Do not breast-feed during treatment with ENHERTU and for 7 months after the last dose.
Tell your healthcare provider about all medications you are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
How do I receive ENHERTU?
You will be given ENHERTU into your vein through an intravenous (IV) line by your healthcare provider. ENHERTU is administered once every three weeks (21 day treatment cycle). Your healthcare provider will determine how many treatments you need. Your healthcare provider may slow or temporarily stop your infusion of ENHERTU if you have an infusion-related reaction, or permanently stop ENHERTU if you have severe infusion reactions. If you miss a scheduled dose of ENHERTU, call your healthcare provider right away to make an appointment. Do not wait until the next scheduled treatment cycle.
What are the possible side effects of ENHERTU?
ENHERTU can cause serious side effects. See “What is the most important information I should know about ENHERTU?”
The most common side effects of ENHERTU, when used in people with breast cancer, are:
Nausea Low white blood cell count Low red blood cell count Fatigue Vomiting Hair loss Increased liver function tests Low platelet count Constipation Decreased appetite Diarrhea Low blood potassium Cough
ENHERTU can cause fertility problems in men, which can affect the ability to father children. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are concerned about fertility.
These are not all the possible side effects of ENHERTU. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You can report side effects to Daiichi Sankyo at 1-877-437-7763 or to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is ENHERTU?
ENHERTU is a prescription medicine used in adults to treat human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive breast cancer that cannot be removed by surgery or has spread (metastasized) to other parts of your body, and which has two or more previous anti-HER2 breast cancer treatments.
ENHERTU was approved by the FDA for this use based on a clinical trial that measured how many patients responded and how long they responded. ENHERTU is still being studied to confirm these results.
It is not known if ENHERTU is safe and effective in children.
Visit www.ENHERTU.com for complete prescribing information, including boxed WARNINGS and Medication Guide.
Visit www.ENHERTU.com to learn more about this treatment option for people with previously treated HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer and to download resources for patients and healthcare providers.
Sponsored by Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca.
ENHERTU® is a registered trademark of Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited.
© 2021 Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. and AstraZeneca.