Scientists have found a drug combination that can halt tumour growth for twice as long in women with advanced breast cancer without any side effects, and are now testing it on early-stage cancer.
Scientists have found a drug combination that can halt tumour growth for twice as long in women with advanced breast cancer without any side effects, and are now testing it on early-stage cancer. The class of drugs, called CDK4 and CDK6 inhibitors, has shown it can double the effect of common anti-hormone treatments, delaying tumour growth from 10 months to 20 months. While anti-hormone treatments such as Tamoxifen were highly effective at preventing or delaying the return of cancer in women with advanced hormone-driven breast cancer, having a side-effect-free tablet that could delay more intensive treatment was “exciting”, said Richard de Boer from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia
“We’ve got good chemotherapy drugs, but they are toxic. They require intravenous treatment, you lose your hair and you can feel really sick,” de Boer said. “If you can come up with a combination treatment that delays the need for chemotherapy by 10, 20 or 30 months, that’s a great achievement for women with advanced disease,” de Boer told ‘Herald Sun’.
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The tablets, Palbociclib, Ribociclib and Abemaciclib, work differently to hormone treatments by turning off cancer’s out-of-control cell growth. Following the combination success in advanced cancer, it will now be tested in women with early stage breast cancer. The trial of 4,600 women will compare two years of the Palbociclib combination to standard hormone therapy to see if it can stop cancer returning, even after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.