Publicado: Sol, Junio 09, 2019
Salud | Por Gertrudes Rodriquez

New Breast Cancer Drug Shows Promising Results Among Young Women

New Breast Cancer Drug Shows Promising Results Among Young Women

In the early 2000s, a team of UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center researchers led by Dr. Dennis Slamon were on the forefront of discovering that cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors are effective in treating hormone receptor positive breast cancer.

Adding the targeted therapy ribociclib to hormone therapy significantly improved overall survival (OS) in premenopausal patients with advanced hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer, according to results of the MONALEESA-7 Phase III clinical trial led by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The drug works by inhibiting the activity of cancer-cell promoting enzymes. This form of breast cancer is usually treated using therapies that block the hormone estrogen's production.

The risk of death was cut by nearly a third (29%), compared to those treated with hormone therapy alone, according to the study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.

"You actually can get synergy, or a better response, better cancer kill, by adding one of these cell-cycle inhibitors" on top of the hormone blocking therapy, said Hurvitz. In the ribociclib arm, 87 patients (26 percent) received tamoxifen, compared with 90 patients (26.7 percent) in the placebo arm. In 2018, ribociclib became the first CDK 4/6 inhibitor approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of premenopausal patients with advanced HR+ breast cancer in combination with hormone therapies. This is because Kisqali selectively targets cancerous cells, thus blocking their ability to multiply.

"This study confirms the benefits of these drugs are similar in both pre- and post-menopausal patients with advanced hormone receptor-positive breast cancers, and it further validates the clinical value of adding ribociclib for these patients", said Tripathy.

An estimated 268,000 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. in 2019, while the advanced form of the disease is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women aged 20 to 59.

"These are patients who tend to be diagnosed later, at a later stage in their disease, because we don't have great screening modalities for young women", said Hurvitz.

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One study in advanced lung cancer tested Keytruda, a drug that helps the immune system fight tumors.

The worldwide, randomized Phase III clinical trial enrolled 672 metastatic breast cancer patients, all of whom were pre- or peri-menopausal (ceased having periods within the last year) at diagnosis with HR+, HER2-negative disease.

The drug costs $12,553 for a 28-day dose however a spokeswoman for Novartis was quick to address financial issues by expressing that a majority of USA patients with commercial insurance would not have to pay anything for their Kisqali prescription.

But, she added, "the majority of patients in the US with commercial insurance will pay $0 per month for their Kisqali prescription".

Ribociclib and hormone therapy have been used to treat postmenopausal women with breast cancer previously and past year the combination therapy was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in premenopausal women.

Hurvitz has stated interest in studying whether or not ribociclib could help nip breast cancer in the bud if administered at an earlier stage.

Clinical trials offer important insights to a drug's effectiveness.

"We want to go and look at those women diagnosed with early stage disease, small tumors, tumors that haven't gone to the lymph nodes or haven't gone to other parts of the body, and see if we can stop it from returning later", she said.

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