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Information for patients

Breast cancer treatment

Herceptin® is a drug that is currently given to HER2+ breast cancer patients for 12 months. It has proved to be a major advance in breast cancer and has demonstrated the value of targeted therapy.

There is now growing evidence to suggest that a shorter duration of Herceptin® will have the same clinical effect.


Recruitment into Herceptin Duration® Trials

To date over 13,000 patients have been recruited in Europe and New Zealand into Herceptin® duration trials:

  • PHARE (France) 3400 patients – 6 months versus 12 months. Closed to recruitment in July 2010 after randomising 3384 patients.
  • SOLD (Europe, lead by Finland) 9 weeks versus 12 months 3000 patients.
  • ShortHER (Italy) 2500 - 9 weeks versus 12 months.
  • PERSEPHONE (UK) 4000 patients, in 158 hospitals and is the largest trial of its kind.

What is Persephone?

It is a clinical trial comparing 6 months and 12 months of Herceptin®.

12 months treatment is an arbitrary figure as the initial studies compared patients who weren't given Herceptin® to those given the drug for one or two years.

Why consider Persephone?

  • To help us to discover if 6 months of Herceptin® is as clinically effective as 12 months
  • To assess the Quality of Life of patients receiving 6 and 12 months of Herceptin®
  • To reduce the risk of cardiac toxicity. Herceptin® is a powerful treatment which can damage the heart
  • To be involved in research and to help define treatment for future patients
  • Reduce the amount of time you experience the side-effects of Herceptin®
  • Reduce the inconvenience and costs of hospital visits
  • To be one of the 13,000 patients being recruited in Europe onto Herceptin® duration trials.
  • To be involved in research and to help define treatment for future patients.

Am I eligible to participate?

To participate in this study you must meet certain conditions including:

  • recent diagnosis of breast cancer showing high levels of the HER2 molecule
  • due to receive chemotherapy and Herceptin® (you may have received less than 6 months of Herceptin® so far)

I want to take part, what do I do next?

The trial has now closed to recruitment. However, if you are interested in knowing more about this trial, then please contact the Trial Co-ordinator. The trial opened across 158 UK hospitals.





Quotes from patients:

“I'm glad that Herceptin exists but I don't want any more treatment than necessary. Persephone is going to help show what 'necessary' is”.


“Taking part in a trial makes me feel like part of the cure. I'm more than just a patient”.


“Being randomised to the 6 month arm means I can return to normal life quickly”.


"Without trials we will never know what is best".


"I want to help future breast cancer patients".