Madrid (EFE).- The National Health System has incorporated a new treatment against one of the most aggressive breast tumors that mainly affects young women, which is administered in minutes with a single subcutaneous injection, which significantly reduces time and costs but maintaining the same efficiency.
“With this we have humanized the treatment, so that the patients, who had not just disengaged from the hospital, feel less sick,” José Ángel García, a medical oncologist at the San Carlos Clinical Hospital in Madrid, emphasized at a press conference.
This is a new way of administering the combination of the monoclonal antibodies pertuzumab and trastuzumab -a therapeutic option that already exists-, in such a way that it replaces the intravenous route with a single subcutaneous injection in the thigh, which reduces to just a few minutes the hours required by standard treatment, maintaining the same safety and efficacy profile.
Aimed at a very aggressive tumor
This advance is aimed at HER2-positive tumors, a particularly aggressive type that attacks young women above all; They represent around 20% of all breast cancers – some 6,000 in Spain – and the calculations of those responsible for Roche is that around 4,000 patients can benefit.
Women with this kind of tumor require prolonged treatment over time, between one year, if they have the disease at an early stage, or several, if it is already in an advanced phase, which requires many cycles.
With intravenous administration, which requires the placement of a peripheral line or a central venous catheter, times could be extended up to 9.5 hours for the first dose and another 5.5 hours for the second maintenance dose.
While with this new option they will no longer have to spend hours in day hospitals to receive their treatment because all that is simplified to between 5 and 8 minutes, which lasts for the single puncture with which the two antibodies are introduced at the same time , which they can also receive at any nearby hospital, without having to go to the reference hospital.
Without forgetting that the subcutaneous formulation is less invasive than the intravenous one, which sometimes carries risks of bleeding or infection, so that it hardly involves minor discomfort in the puncture area.
Saving of health resources
Added to this is a significant saving in SNS resources: according to Federico Plaza, director of Corporate Affairs at Roche Farma Spain, the time spent by health professionals on these treatments is reduced by 70% and the system’s care capacity will improve in 23%, since these patients will free up the space they occupy to receive their medication much sooner.
The cost of the treatment itself, which is already available in all the public and private hospitals in the network, is also less than the use of the two drugs separately, which has allowed the definitive endorsement of the Ministry of Health, he added.
It will also mean an improvement for the patients and they will be able to recover up to half the time they have to dedicate to their treatment, which will also have a favorable impact “on the day-to-day of their caregivers”.
“It is a great step to chronicle and humanize assistance. Once we have managed to extend life, what we want is to extend it ”, summarized the medical oncologist.