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A drug developed by Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, has demonstrated the ability to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence by 25% in early-stage survivors. The results of a clinical trial were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting. This development provides new hope for patients facing the daunting prospect of breast cancer recurrence.

Ribociclib shows promise in breast cancer treatment

ASCO expert Rita Nanda, who was not part of the research, hailed the study on ribociclib as a significant clinical trial with practical implications. Ribociclib is a molecularly targeted therapy that is part of the novel medicines category. Breast cancer primarily occurs in its early stages (stages I-III), representing the majority of the two million new cases worldwide.

Lead study author, Dennis Salmon from UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, said that currently, surgery is the standard treatment for breast cancer patients, followed by chemo or radiation therapy, and then five to ten years of hormonal blockade using different endocrine therapies.

In a clinical trial involving over 5,100 individuals with stage II and stage III HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, the most prevalent subtype accounting for approximately 70 percent of cases in the United States, recurrence rates were found to be high. For stage I, over 30% of people experienced recurrence, while for stage III, the rate exceeded 50%, and in some cases, cancer returned even decades later.

Breast cancer patients face ongoing concerns about recurrence

Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and a committee member for the study, emphasized that patients diagnosed with early breast cancer face ongoing and lifelong concerns about the possibility of cancer recurrence.

Researchers indicated that palbociclib had favorable outcomes in recurrence-free survival, distance-free survival, and overall survival. Ribociclib, an approved medication for metastatic breast cancer, has been found to benefit patients with earlier stages, including those without spread in lymph nodes. This study’s findings suggest that using ribociclib in a broader patient population can simplify treatment decisions for healthcare providers and potentially prevent cancer recurrence while minimizing disruption to patients’ daily lives.