The market for breast cancer drug therapies in Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC nations) will grow by an annual average rate of 8% over the next five years, increasing from $1.7 billion in 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2017, according to new forecasts.

The market's rate of growth will be the result of the launch of a number of premium-priced agents, plus a gradual increase in the use of targeted therapies and a rise in the incident population, according to the report, which is published by Decision Resources.

The breast cancer market in Brazil is currently the largest of the BRIC nations, and accounts for 50% of the total market share for these treatments. However, while these market shares will remain consistent, sales in China are expected to develop the most in the period to 2017, says the study.

"Among the BRIC nations, China will experience the greatest growth over the forecast period," comments Andreia Ribeiro, an analyst at Decision Resources. "This will primarily be driven by the rising number of incident cases and changes in medical practice towards more personalised treatments, especially trastuzumab and GlaxoSmithKline's soon-to-launch Tykerb [lapatinib]," she adds.

The report's findings reveal that Roche's HER2-targeting agent Herceptin (trastuzumab) was the brand leader in sales across all the BRIC markets in 2012, and that by 2017 it is expected to have maintained its premium position, despite experiencing loss of market share. 

Overall, the use of targeted therapies is expected to increase in the BRIC markets, garnering estimated sales rising from $615 million in 2012 to $1.16 billion by 2017. Increased and improved patient access to these more expensive agents, aided by the entry of a biosmilar version of trastuzumab, will be major drivers of sales in these markets, the report forecasts.

In addition, growth of the breast cancer markets in the BRIC nations will also be determined by the launch of several new therapies during the period to 2017, it says. These will consist of: - novel and modified HER2-targeting agents - Roche's Perjeta (pertuzumab) and the same firm's antibody drug conjugate trastuzumab-DM1; - novel chemotherapeutic agents - Eisai's Halaven (eribulin mesylate) and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Ixempra (ixabepilone); and - a novel targeted therapy - Novartis' Afinitor (everolimus).

Together, these emerging therapies will contribute approximately 9% to overall breast cancer sales in the BRIC markets by 2017, the report forecasts.