‘New hope’ for young women with incurable breast cancer as drug increases three-year survival by 50% – The Independent

Thousands of young women with advanced breast cancer could gain years of extra life thanks to a breakthrough precision drug, a study has shown.

Trials of ribociclib, a targeted therapy which helps stop cancer cells growing and dividing, found pre-menopausal breast cancer patients who received the drug were 50 per cent more likely to be alive after three-and-a-half years.  

Those who received the drug lived a median of 23.8 months without their cancer progressing compared with 13 months for women who received a placebo.

This is the first time a study has shown this new generation of precision treatments, which are administered in combination with conventional hormone therapy, can prolong survival as well as stopping the cancer spreading.

“The use of ribociclib as a frontline therapy significantly prolonged overall survival, which is good news for women with this terrible disease,” said Dr Sara Hurvitz of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Centre. 

This Ribociclib combination was recently made available on the NHS and UK experts said the findings would give “new hope” to thousands of families.

Breast cancer in pre-menopausal women is often more aggressive and harder to treat.

The international Monaleesa-7 trial, involving 672 women under the age of 59, who had advanced hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative breast cancer, is the first to focus on the new treatment in this group.

Results presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago show that 70 per cent of women who received the combination treatment survived 42 months, compared with a 46 per cent survival among women who received hormone therapy and a placebo. 

This amounts to a 29 per cent decrease in cancer deaths during the trial.

Around 1,500 women in the UK could benefit each year from the drug, which usually costs £35,000 per patient per year but is bought by the NHS at an undisclosed discount.

“This is indescribably good news for patients and their families,” said Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of the charity Breast Cancer Now. ”It is now absolutely fantastic to see the very first evidence that ribociclib can give thousands of younger women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer more time to live.

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“We cannot put into words what it will mean for so many women to be able to spend precious extra time with their families and create memories that will last a lifetime.”

The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine journal.

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/breast-cancer-incurable-new-drug-survival-rates-treatment-a8939486.html

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