Monday, February 23, 2015

New oral drug shows promise for advanced breast cancer

Click to view YouTube explanation of palbociclib
CANCER DIGEST – Feb. 23, 2015 –Women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body achieved longer progression-free survival after treatment with a new oral drug, called palbociclib.

The new drug was recently approved by the FDA for metastatic breast cancer patients just beginning to undergo hormone therapy after an initial phase I clinical trial conducted by researchers in the Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The new, larger trial involves 37 patients, most of whom (84 percent) had hormone receptor positive (HR+) tumors, meaning the breast cancer cells depend on the hormones estrogen and progesterone to grow. Another 5 percent were also positive for a different receptor, HER2 and 11 percent were negative for both HR and HER2 receptors. Results of the phase II study were published this month in Clinical Cancer Research

Patients enrolled in the trial had previously undergone several prior chemotherapy and hormonal regimens for metastatic disease. Palboclib was administered once daily for 21 days each month.

Overall the time before tumors worsened or the patient died, was 3.7 months for patients taking the drug. However, patients with hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer had 5.1 months before the tumor resumed growing, which was significantly longer compared to that of the HR-negative group.

Though some patients experienced low white blood cell counts or other side effects, symptoms were managed with dose reductions, and improvements in tumor shrinkage and disease control were still noted.

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