skip to content

Department of Oncology


Helena EarlThe PERSEPHONE trial, led by Professor Helena Earl (Oncology and CRUK Cambridge Centre), recruited over 4,000 women with HER2 positive early breast cancer to establish the outcomes of shortening the duration of treatment.
This £2.6 million study funded by the (National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) with translational research funded by Cancer Research UK, showed that women treated for six months with trastuzumab (often known as Herceptin) for HER2 positive early breast cancer did as well, in terms of their risk of breast cancer returning, as those getting the currently conventional 12 month treatment. However, the six months treatment significantly reduced treatment related side effects, including heart problems. For the full results of this study, see The Lancet.

Professor Earl, said: “The results indicate there are a large number of patients where a reduced trastuzumab treatment duration of six months provides a similar benefit to 12 months without the risk of additional side effects. These results can now be used by the breast cancer community and entities such as NICE and NHS England for consideration of change in practice. The study and data from a parallel French trial will be used to explore whether there are subgroups of higher risk women for whom 12 months therapy would remain the most appropriate course.”
For more information, please see the CRUK Cambridge Centre website.