While 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, the 5-year survival rate has climbed close to 90%. Early detection and new treatments have been among the gains made and important research continues through clinical trials.
For example, endocrine treatment has been a mainstay of therapy for women with ER+ breast cancer for many years. Further, in the last few years, numerous clinical trials have demonstrated that combining standard hormone medications with a novel class of medications, known as the CDK 4/6 inhibitors, has led to dramatic improvements in treating ER+ breast cancer.
These CDK 4/6 inhibitors have now become standard treatment for most patients with metastatic, or advanced ER+ breast cancer. However, once a patient’s breast cancer has become resistant to this combination of a hormonal therapy and a CDK 4/6 inhibitor, further ongoing treatment with a CDK 4/6 inhibitor is no longer continued because there is not sufficient data that has shown this to be effective.
Oncologist and UVM Cancer Center member, Peter Kaufman, MD is leading a clinical trial for patients with Estrogen Receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer at the UVM Health Network exploring whether continuing with treatment with a CDK 4/6 inhibitor in patients such as these might be of great further benefit. The phase III clinical trial is currently accepting patients and is one of the first large clinical trials that will specifically evaluate this very important clinical question. Very early research findings in fact suggest that the outcome of this treatment approach will be very effective and helpful, however this again needs further proof in definitive studies. “We know that this study is evaluating a question of enormous importance in the breast cancer field at present, and will be of great interest to many patients in our region,” says Kaufman, who is on the global steering committee for this initiative.
For more information about this clinical trial, visit: https://www.med.uvm.edu/uvmcancercenter/clinicaltrialsgroup/cancer-trials#breast
Related: 5 Myths of Clinical Trials
Related: Breast Cancer: What we Know Today