Pairing a drug with hormone therapy can increase the life expectancy of many women with advanced breast cancer, the trial suggests.
The drug and hormone therapy together work more efficiently. The drug palbociclib and hormone therapy increased the survival of many women that is 10 years more longer as compared to the women who only received the hormone therapy. This also delayed the need for chemotherapy which can bring one devastating side effects.
According to experts, the initial trials of this combo motivated many of us to continue with this experiment. However, they pointed out the fact this method is not a cure and will not be beneficial for everyone.
In a placebo-controlled clinical trial, 521 women with advanced estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer were tested. These women were subjected to the palbociclib drug as well as hormone therapy to observe the benefits of it. This a type of breast cancer in which there is no HER2 gene.
Estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer is a very common type of breast cancer and around 80% of the breast cancers belong to this category.
Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research, in London, and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust further studied on this topic in order to know the overall effect of this drug on women’s increased survival rate as well as to know that how long this drug can delay the need for chemotherapy.
According to the result, women who have given a positive response to hormone therapy in their medical history responded well to this experiment, and their survival rate increased by 10 months to 39.7 months. 410 of the 521 women responded well to this treatment while the rest of the women increased their survival rate to 29.7 months who took fulvestrant and placebo ( dummy pill).
The study also showed that the women who were given this treatment showed a 9-month delay in their need of chemotherapy.
The professor Nicholas Turner one of the leading people in the study said: “ The development of palbociclib is one of the biggest advances in treatment for women with breast cancer in the last two decades.”
He further added, “This drug can offer more precious time with their loved ones, and because it is targeted treatment it is much kinder than chemotherapy and enables many women to carry on with their lives normally.”
This drug got approved in 2017 by NICE for the women having estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer who diagnose it after the disease has started to spread.
The team of this study wanted that this treatment should also be available to the women who previously had a hormone treatment for their breast cancer.
According to Professor Charles Swanton, a chief clinician of UK’s Cancer Research the outcomes of this treatment proved to be “very encouraging”.
“Although the treatment gave some people with breast cancer precious extra months, it is not a cure, and won’t work for everyone.”
“So we need to understand more about breast cancer’s weak spots and exploit them to develop even more effective treatments in the future.”
According to Delyth Morgan, a chief executive at Breast Cancer Now though the outcome of the treatment proves to be exciting, still more research is needed.