Enhertu approved in China for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer treated with one or more prior anti-HER2-based regimens

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan) has been approved in China as a monotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer who have received one or more prior anti-HER2-based regimens.

Enhertu is a specifically engineered HER2-directed antibody drug conjugate (ADC) being jointly developed and commercialised by AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo.

The approval by China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) is based on the results of the DESTINY-Breast03 Phase III trial, where Enhertu demonstrated a 72% reduction in the risk of disease progression or death compared to trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) (hazard ratio [HR] 0.28; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.22-0.37; p<0.000001) in patients with HER2-positive unresectable and/or metastatic breast cancer previously treated with trastuzumab and a taxane.

In China, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with more than 415,000 patients diagnosed in 2020. There were nearly 120,000 breast cancer deaths in China in 2020, representing approximately 18% of global breast cancer deaths. Approximately one in five cases of breast cancer are considered HER2-positive.

Binghe Xu, MD, professor and director of the Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer Hospital and Institute Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said: “This approval marks an important day for the breast cancer community in China as patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer continue to need additional treatment options. Despite initial treatment, patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer will often experience disease progression, demonstrating the importance of early systemic disease control and the potential for Enhertu to help eligible patients with metastatic breast cancer.”

Dave Fredrickson, executive vice president, Oncology Business Unit, AstraZeneca, said: “This first approval of Enhertu in China represents a significant advance in the treatment of HER2-targetable tumours and provides the opportunity for patients with previously treated HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer to benefit from this important medicine as a second line therapy. The approval underscores our commitment to patients in China, where there has been an increased incidence rate of breast cancer, as we continue to explore the potential benefits of Enhertu earlier in the treatment of HER2-directed metastatic breast cancer and across HER2-targetable cancers.”

Kiminori Nagao, head of the Asia, South and Central America (ASCA) Business Unit, Daiichi Sankyo, said: “Enhertu is extending the time before disease progression or death and helping to redefine outcomes for patients with previously treated HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, and now physicians in China will have this important medicine as an option for their patients. With this approval, Enhertu has the potential to become a new standard of care in China in the second-line setting for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.”

The safety profile of Enhertu in DESTINY-Breast03 was evaluated in 257 patients with unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer and was consistent with previous clinical trials with no new safety concerns identified. The most common adverse reactions were nausea (75.9%), fatigue (49.4%), vomiting (49.0%), neutropenia (42.8%) and alopecia (37.0%).

This approval follows the Breakthrough Therapy Designation and Priority Review granted to Enhertu by China’s NMPA in this type of breast cancer in 2022.

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