New endocrine therapy may increase progression-free survival of breast cancer

Cancer

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A group of researchers around the world modified the existing endocrine therapy with ribociclib medications to treat breast cancer better.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Canadian women. About 1 in 4 Canadian women will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. According to The Canadian Cancer Society, about 26,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. On average, 14 Canadian women died from breast cancer every day.

Breast cancer is a malignant tumour in the breast. It starts when cells in the breast begin to grow abnormally. Breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body when the cancer cells get into the blood or lymph system. Nearly 17% of breast cancers are diagnosed in women less than 50 years of age. The five-year survival rate of breast cancer is 87%, meaning that 87 of 100 women diagnosed with breast cancer are expected to live at least five more years. This number remained stable in the past several years.

Endocrine therapy with ovarian suppression or ablation has long been used as a standard first-line treatment for various stages of cancer. However, therapy resistance and disease progression are the biggest challenges of traditional endocrine therapy.

In a recent study published in The Lancet Oncology, a group of researchers around the world evaluated the efficacy and safety of administrating ribociclib during endocrine therapy in treating breast cancers. The researchers randomly divided 672 patients into two groups, either receiving ribociclib medications or a matching placebo. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew what medication each participant received. They recruited the participants between 2014 and 2016 from 30 countries. This study was funded by a grant from Novartis.

This study is the first clinical trial to examine ribociclib in combination with endocrine therapy, specifically in premenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive advanced breast cancer. The researchers found that the new therapy can improve progression-free survival and achieve higher proportions of overall responses than traditional endocrine therapy.

This exciting study supports the benefit of adding ribociclib into current endocrine therapy for advanced breast cancer treatment and provides a new option for premenopausal women to treat this common cancer.

Written by Man-tik Choy, Ph.D.

Reference: Tripathy D. et el. Ribociclib plus endocrine therapy for premenopausal women with hormone-receptor-positive, advanced breast cancer (MONALEESA-7): a randomised phase 3 trial.The Lancet Oncology. 2018;S1470-2045(18)30292-4. DOI 10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30292-4.

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