Kadcyla®

(trastuzumab emtansine)

Pronounced Kad-cy-la

Kadcyla, also known as trastuzumab emtansine, is a targeted therapy for the treatment of advanced HER2-positive breast cancer.  You may have already received treatment with other HER2 targeted therapies such as Herceptin® (trastuzumab) and Perjeta® (pertuzumab). 

Ask your doctor if Kadcyla is right for you.

How Kadcyla works

Kadcyla is a combination of Herceptin and chemotherapy given as a single treatment. This type of treatment is called an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC).

For more information on how Kadcyla works, click here to watch a video or go to page 9 in the Kadcyla patient booklet by clicking here.

Advanced breast cancer

Clinical studies have shown that Kadcyla helps to control the growth and spread of advanced HER2-positive breast cancer. For more information on the clinical trials of Kadcyla, go to page 11 in the Kadcyla patient booklet by clicking here.

Kadcyla helps most people with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer but it may have unwanted side effects in some people.  All medicines have side effects.  Sometimes they are serious and sometimes they are not. Go to page 15 in the Kadcyla patient booklet by clicking here for more information on what to expect during treatment with Kadcyla. 

From 1st December 2019, Kadcyla is fully funded by PHARMAC for those who meet pre-defined criteria. For more information talk to your doctor.

Adjuvant (after surgery) therapy

Kadcyla is used in early HER2-positive breast cancer following surgery.

HER2-positive breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer. Despite having surgery to remove the cancer, it may recur, or come back. Your doctor will look at a variety of factors, such as lymph node status, hormone receptor status, tumour size and grade, and others, to determine if the cancer you have has a high likelihood of coming back.  An explanation of these terms are available to download in the What does my pathology report mean? patient booklet by clicking here. 

Your doctor may prescribe Kadcyla after surgery if your breast cancer has a high likelihood of coming back.  The goal of adjuvant treatment is to kill cancer cells that may be left in your breast or in the rest of your body after surgery. 

All medicines have side effects.  Sometimes they are serious and sometimes they are not. Go to the Consumer Medicine Information by clicking here for more information on what to expect during treatment with Kadcyla. 

How to access Kadcyla

Kadcyla for early HER2-positive breast cancer is not funded by PHARMAC.  This means you will need to pay for it privately.

If you have health insurance, carefully check what’s covered — every health insurance provider has different rules and benefits that cover cancer treatment, surgery, tests and appointments. Roche also offer support through a Cost Share Programme.  

The Kadcyla Cost Share Programme

Offers assistance with the cost of your medicine. The total amount you will pay for Kadcyla is capped.  Once a patient has reached the cap, Roche will provide ongoing Kadcyla at no cost. However, other costs such as doctor fees and administration costs will still apply.

For more information on the Kadcyla Cost Share Programme, talk to your doctor.

Ready to take the next step

Making decisions about treatment options involves working through the advantages and disadvantages, so you can decide what may work best for you and your loved ones. 

Because every situation is different, it’s important to speak to your doctor to find out if Kadcyla is right for you.

Talking to your doctor about Kadcyla

To help you in this process, we’ve put together a discussion guide to help you begin a conversation with your doctor. Print it off, take it along to your next appointment, and take notes in the spaces provided.

For further information about private treatment providers click here.

You can also talk to your current doctor about referral to a private doctor or treatment centre.

To learn more about how medicines become available in New Zealand, click here.

Handy resources

The following resources contain useful information on Kadcyla such as what it is for, how it works, things to consider before starting treatment and what to expect during treatment including side effects.

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Kadcyla Consumer Medicine Information
Click Here

Kadcyla® (trastuzumab emtansine), 100mg and 160mg vials, is a Prescription Medicine used to treat patients with early breast cancer following surgery and patients with advanced or metastatic breast cancer (i.e. the cancer has spread to areas near the breast or to other parts of the body) who have tumours with a large amount of the HER2 protein. Tell your doctor if: you have had a serious infusion-related reaction to Herceptin (trastuzumab); you have a history of heart problems; you have any breathing or lung problems; you have liver problems; you have bleeding problems; you are receiving anti-coagulant treatment (blood thinning medication); you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or plan to become pregnant or breast-feed; you are taking any other medicines.

Tell your doctor immediately or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Centre if you notice any of the following: swelling of your lips, face, tongue or throat with difficulty breathing; swelling of other parts of your body such as your hands, legs, ankles or feet; weight gain of  more than 2 kilograms in 24 hours after an infusion; shortness of breath (especially when lying down, being woken from your sleep or when exercising), wheezing or trouble breathing; abnormal or irregular heartbeat; rash, itching or hives on the skin; flushing (warm, red) skin; pain or swelling at the site of injection; feeling sick (nausea) or vomiting, diarrhoea; pain or discomfort (including stomach pain, back pain, chest or neck pain); fever or chills; headache; fatigue or tiredness; cough; dizziness or fainting; jaundice; dark urine; or  loss of appetite. Possible common side effects may also include: getting tired more easily after light physical activity such as walking; insomnia (difficulty sleeping); weakness, soreness in muscles and/or joints; numbness or weakness of arms and legs; bleeding or bruising more easily than normal; nose bleeds; feeling dizzy, tired, looking pale; flu and/or cold like symptoms, frequent infections such as fever, severe chills, sore throat or mouth ulcers; dry mouth; taste disturbance or loss of taste; constipation, vomiting, indigestion or diarrhoea; or eye problems such as producing more tears, swollen runny eyes or conjunctivitis .

Kadcyla has risks and benefits. Ask your Oncologist if Kadcyla is right for you. Use strictly as directed. If symptoms continue or you have side effects, see your healthcare professional. For further information on Kadcyla, please talk to your health professional or visit www.medsafe.govt.nz for Kadcyla Consumer Medicine Information.

Kadcyla is a fully funded medicine for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who meet pre-defined criteria.

Kadcyla is not a PHARMAC funded medicine for the adjuvant treatment of HER2-positive early breast cancer. A prescription charge and normal oncologist fees may apply.

Consumer panel dated October 2019.