NICE recommend new early targeted treatment for breast cancer

pharmafile | July 22, 2022 | News story | Medical Communications  

Abemaciclib (Verzenios) has been approved by the NICE to treat some people with breast cancer that has a high-risk of relapse, Cancer Research UK has shared. The targeted drug has been recommended alongside hormone therapy as a treatment option to reduce the risk of cancer returning following surgery.

The new drug combination will be available to adults with hormone receptor-positive, HER-2 negative, node positive breast cancer, on the NHS in England.

Abemaciclib was approved as a routine treatment for advanced breast cancer in August 2021. However, the drug will now also be available to people in the early stages of the disease who have either at least 4 positive axillary lymph nodes (A lymph node in the area of the armpit (axilla) where cancer has spread to), or one to three positive axillary lymph nodes, and either grade 3 disease (which tends to be fast growing) or a primary tumour size of at least 5cm.

Abemaciclib is a cancer growth blocker that targets the proteins cyclin dependant kinase 4 and 6 (CDK4 and CDK6) on breast cancer cells, proteins which stimulate cancer cells to divide and grow. In blocking these, abemaciclib aims to slow or stop cancer growth.

“Abemaciclib plus hormone therapy offers a targeted treatment option earlier in the treatment pathway. Clinicians told NICE this option can improve quality of life, increase the chance of curing the disease, and reduce the risk of developing incurable advanced disease,” said Rose Gray, head of policy development at Cancer Research UK.

Human versions of cyclin-dependent kinases were discovered by Paul Nurse, a Cancer Research UK scientist at the London Research Institute.

Gray concluded: “This decision is good news for people affected by this type of early breast cancer. The risk of the cancer returning after initial treatment can cause real stress and anxiety for patients and their families.”

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