Tests on a treatment for breast cancer in its early stages showed that it reduces the risk of recurrence by 25%, according to the results of a large clinical trial published Friday, which raises hopes for many patients.
The preliminary findings were revealed at the largest annual conference for cancer specialists, hosted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.
University of Chicago oncologist Rita Nanda, who was not involved in the work, said, “This is a very important clinical trial that will change doctors’ practices.”
The treatment, called Ribociclib, was developed by Novartis against the most common type of breast cancer (called HR+/HR2-).
This treatment is already used (along with hormonal therapy) in patients with advanced cancer with metastases.
The aim of this new study was to test this drug for early-stage cancers (1 to 3).
Management of the disease generally includes surgical interventions, radiotherapy and possibly chemotherapy, followed by years of hormonal therapy.
More than 5,000 people participated in the clinical trial
Despite this, “a third of patients with stage II breast cancer (…) will have a recurrence,” said University of California oncologist Dennis Salamone, who presented the findings at a press conference. The disease can reappear within two to three decades after diagnosis.
More than 5,000 people participated in the clinical trial, half of whom took ribociclib and hormone therapy, and the other half received hormone therapy alone.
According to preliminary results, the risk of recurrence was reduced by 25% in the group whose members received ribociclib treatment.
Ribociclib works by targeting proteins (CDK4 and CDK6) that influence the growth of cancer cells.
Two other CDK inhibitor therapies, palbociclib and apimaciclib, are also approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
Epimasiclib has also recently been approved in the US to treat the disease in its early stages, but only for women at high risk of recurrence in which the lymph nodes are also affected.
Ribociclib could be an option for women whose lymph nodes are not affected by infection, according to Rita Nanda.
“There will probably be a lot of discussion about the level of benefit for patients, the type of side effects, and for which patients there is a real benefit to using this type of drug for prevention,” said the head of the department of medical oncology at the Curie Jean-Yves Berga, during a separate press conference.
More than two million cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year worldwide, which causes more than 600,000 deaths annually. Most diagnoses are made at an early stage.