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Breast cancer therapy: New active ingredient is being tested


Promising combined therapy with a new active ingredient against breast cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, although a distinction is made between different subtypes. Accordingly, the treatment options are extremely different. A therapy option will soon be available for the treatment of the most common type of breast cancer (formerly hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer). The new method is currently being tested in an international phase III study.

The large international study "ABCSG 42 / PALLAS" is investigating whether the active ingredient palbociclib, which has already shown extremely promising effects in metastatic breast cancer, also improves the therapeutic success of the most common type of breast cancer, according to a report by the Medical University of Vienna (MedUni Vienna). The drug is to be tested in combination with standard endocrine therapy in numerous treatment centers worldwide. A success could revolutionize breast cancer therapy, reports Michael Gnant, head of the Breast Health Center at MedUni Vienna and director of studies outside the United States.
A new drug that could revolutionize breast cancer treatment is currently being tested in a phase III study. (Image: SENTELLO / fotolia.com)

Combined therapy is to be investigated in 4,600 subjects
Breast cancer treatment centers in the United States, Australia, Belgium, Spain and Austria have already been selected to participate in the study, and study centers are also planned to be added in other countries. "Worldwide, 4,600 patients in 25 countries are to be included in this largest international phase III study, which is available for patients with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer," said the MedUni Vienna. Around half of the subjects in the United States are recruited. The study will examine whether concomitant administration of the active ingredient palbociclib can improve the results of standard endocrine therapy.

The drug has been successful in metastatic breast cancer
Standard endocrine therapy inhibits the formation of the hormones responsible for breast cancer. According to MedUni Vienna, around 75 percent of newly diagnosed forms of breast cancer are “hormone receptor positive” - their growth is fueled by the release of sex hormones. Palbociclib forms a so-called kinase inhibitor, which reduces the cell growth and cell division of tumor cells, according to MedUni Vienna. Study leader Michael Gnant explains that the active ingredient "is already approved for metastatic breast cancer and has great therapeutic success there".

Active ingredient in the comparative test
The current study is now testing "disease-free survival between standard endocrine therapy (at least 5 years) plus the active ingredient palbociclib (2 years) compared to standard endocrine therapy alone (at least 5 years)", according to MedUni Vienna. Female and male breast cancer patients with ER-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer and a risk of recurrence in stage II or III are intended to participate in the study. The tumor had already been surgically removed from all participants.

The goal is permanent healing
According to study leader Gnant, up to 500 domestic patients are expected to be included in the study in Austria, giving them access to this new therapy. The drug has the potential to revolutionize therapy for early, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. "Our goal is to prolong progression-free survival and to achieve long-term healing for the majority of patients," emphasizes Gnant. (fp)

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