17-Feb-15 12:15 PM  CST

Newest Drug to Treat Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women Shows Promise

It would be difficult to find someone who hasn’t been touched in some way, shape, or form by breast cancer. Earlier this month the FDA announced approval of Pfizer newest drug to treat breast cancer in postmenopausal women.  Ibrance (palbociclib) is specifically targeted to treat postmenopausal women who have been diagnosed with estrogen receptor (ER) positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), negative metastatic breast cancer. Women that partake in a therapy that includes Ibrance will also not have received any therapy that is estrogen based.

The FDA stated that Ibrance would be used in conjunction with another breast cancer therapy also specifically used in postmenopausal women, Femara (letrozole). Studies have shown that women on combined therapies of Ibrance and Femara lived approximately 20 months without progression of the disease, an additional 10 months longer than when their therapy involved only the use of Femara. Ibrance was one of several drugs that the FDA placed on a fast track this year, leaving many with questions as to whether or not the drug had been thoroughly tested before being released to the public.

Some of the side effects associated with Ibrance include, low red and white blood cell counts, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, upper respiratory infection, decreased appetite, hair loss, nose bleeds, and potential damage to nerve ending. Many believe the possibility of these types of side effects is well worth the price of a 10 additional months without disease progression.

Breast cancer is the 2nd most common form of cancer in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institutes more than 230,000 women in the US were diagnosed with breast cancers in 2014. Even more alarming is the statistic that of the 230,000 diagnosed with the disease more than 40,000 died, giving even more reason to believe Ibrance may hold some additional hope for those diagnosed with breast cancer.





Drugs.com (2015), “FDA approves Ibrance”, http://www.drugs.com/newdrugs/fda-approves-ibrance-palbociclib-postmenopausal-women-advanced-breast-cancer-4161.html, retrieved, 14.February, 2015

Preidt, R., (2015) “Ibrance is target for postmenopausal women with advanced disease”, WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20150204/fda-approves-new-breast-cancer-drug, retrieved, 14.February, 2015



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Source: Sandy Andrews  

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