Breast cancer is a disease which cells in the breast grow out of control and can spread outside the breast through blood and lymph vessels. When a cancer has metastasized it means it has spreads to other parts of the body. Researchers around the world are working to find better ways to prevent, detect and treat breast cancer. Areas of research on breast cancer include hormone disrupters, environment causes, diet, lifestyle and other ways to prevent and treat the disease.
A new treatment combination could help younger woman with breast cancer live longer according to the research.
The study which was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) found that adding ribociclib was found to boost survival rates among pre-menstrual patients.
Ribociclib is a targeted and biological therapy that blocks the growth and spread of cancer by targeting and interfering with processes in the cells that cause cancer to grow and spread.
According to the research, the risk of death was cut by almost a third, compared to those treated with hormone therapy alone.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at breast cancer and breast cancer now, said: “This is indescribably good news for patients and their families.”
The research from the University of California, involved 672 pre-menopausal woman aged under 59 and had advanced HER2 negative breast cancer.
Patients were assigned either a placebo or the ribociclib and all woman received hormone therapy. After 42 months, 70 per cent of those treated with the combined therapy were still alive, compared to 46 per cent of those who only received hormone therapy.
A breast is made up of three main parts: lobules, ducts and connective tissue. The lobules are the glands that produce milk, the ducts are the tubes that carry milk to the nipple and the connective tissue surrounds and hold everything together.
Most breast cancers appear in the ducts or lobules.
Lead researcher, Doctor Sara Hurvitz said of this discovery: “This is the first study to show improved survival for any target therapy when used with endocrine therapy as a first-line treatment for advanced breast cancer.
“Woman who received ribociclib lived an average of 23.8 months without the disease progressing, compared with 13 months for those treated with a placebo.
“The recent introduction of this class of drugs to NHS care has offered a long awaited step forward in our ability to delay the progression of the most common type of incurable breast cancer.”
Ribociclib is currently available on the NHS for people who haven’t already had treatment for locally advanced or secondary breast cancer.
“We cannot put into words what it will mean for so many woman to be able to spend precious extra time with their families and is the very first evidence that ribociclib can give thousands of younger woman diagnosed with breast cancer more time.
“This is one of the greatest advances in breast cancer research in recent decades and it’s vital we ensure that all patients who could benefit are able to access it,” concluded Doctor Hurvitz
Ribociiclib is not currently given for early breast cancer, however clinical trials are looking at wether it may be useful.
You may be offered ribociclib as part of a clinical trial and you should speak with your GP about this new treatment.