The results of a new clinical trial is providing new hope to women diagnosed with an aggressive and deadly form of breast cancer. Researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center and UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found that women treated with a drug called ribociclib that targets breast cancer cells specifically were more likely to be alive three and a half years after their diagnosis than women who only received hormone therapy.
The results of the study showed that the combination of ribociclib and hormone therapy increased the chances of a patient living post-diagnosis better than those taking the hormone therapy alone. Three years and six months along, 70 percent of the patients who received the combination therapy were alive, compared with 46 percent of patients who received just the hormone therapy. All of the participants were women under age 59, were premenopausal when the study began, and had cancer that had metastasized (spread to other parts of the body).
Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) designed and paid for the study, paying professional medical writers to assist in the preparation of the journal article. The results of the study will be published in the New England Journal of Medicine and be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago. Researchers at medical centers in the United States, Asia, Latin America and Europe contributed to the study and will “vouch for the accuracy” of the data, according to an article about the study.
Novartis makes ribociclib and markets it under the brand name Kisqali. The drug was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2017 for postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer. It was approved for younger women in 2018. Ribociclib comes in pill form and the usual dosage costs $12,553 a month. Patients stay on the treatment for as long as it’s working well, which could be months or several years.