Breast cancer drug slashes risk of recurrence by 25 pc, a game-changer in fight against the disease

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New research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting indicates that a groundbreaking drug called ribociclib could slash the risk of recurrence of a most common type of breast cancer by 25 per cent and become a game-changer in the fight against the disease, media reports said.

While treatment advancements have been made, many patients experience a recurrence of the cancer, often at a more advanced stage.

Ribociclib, a targeted therapy drug

The recent study presented at ASCO suggests that ribociclib, a targeted therapy drug, has the potential to be a game-changer. Ribociclib functions by targeting specific proteins, CDK4 and CDK6, in breast cancer cells, regulating cell growth, including the growth of cancer cells.

Reduce the risk of cancer recurrence 

The study’s findings have generated excitement among researchers and oncologists at the conference, as they suggest that ribociclib, also known as Kisqali, could significantly reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and change the standard practice globally.

In a late-stage trial, the drug demonstrated a 25% reduction in the risk of recurrence when used alongside standard hormone therapy, compared to hormone therapy alone, after conventional treatments.

Ribociclib has already received regulatory approval for treating breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, its potential use in earlier-stage disease, when tumors can still be surgically removed, represents a major breakthrough due to the large number of patients it could benefit.

Typically, breast cancer patients undergo surgery and receive chemotherapy or radiation treatment before starting hormone-blocking drugs to prevent the disease from recurring.

The addition of ribociclib to hormone therapy resulted in a “significant improvement” in disease-free survival for patients with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative early-stage breast cancer, which is the most common subtype of the disease, accounting for nearly 70% of cases in the US.

Tolerable treatment option

Dr. Dennis Slamon, the lead author of the study, emphasized the unmet need for effective treatment options in reducing the risk of recurrence for patients with this type of breast cancer.

“Currently, approved targeted treatments can only be used in a small population of patients diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative early breast cancer, leaving many without an effective treatment option for reducing risk of the cancer returning.”

“Thus, there is a significant unmet need for both reducing the risk of recurrence and providing a tolerable treatment option that keeps patients cancer-free without disrupting their daily life,” Dr. Slamon added.

The study involved 5,101 patients who received either ribociclib in combination with five years of hormonal therapy or hormonal therapy alone for three years.

The results of this study provide hope for improving outcomes and reducing the risk of recurrence for a larger group of breast cancer patients, addressing a significant issue in the field.

“Patients diagnosed with HR+/HER2- early breast cancer remain at risk of cancer recurrence, given that one-third of patients diagnosed with stage II and more than half of those diagnosed with stage III will unfortunately experience a return of their cancer,” said Shreeram Aradhye, MD, President, Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis.

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