FDA Approves New Breast Cancer Drug

2 min read  |  September 19, 2017  | 

Drug is designed for patients with advanced metastatic breast cancer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new medication for difficult-to-treat breast cancer — known as metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer. This advanced stage describes cancer that has spread to other organs of the body.

Verzenio (abemaciclib) is a new medication developed by Eli Lilly and Co, that can be given as a stand-alone treatment to patients who have been unsuccessful with other cancer treatments, such as endocrine therapy and chemotherapy.

“While there are other drugs in this class that may, in my opinion, be more effective,” says Dr. Marc Lippman, breast cancer expert at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, “the development and approval of additional breast cancer treatment options is a promising step as we move toward finding a cure.”

The facts about breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Approximately 252,710 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, according to The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, while 40,610 will lose their lives because of the disease.

About 6 to 10 percent of new breast cancer cases are initially stage IV or metastatic, according to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network. It is also estimated that about 20 to 30 percent of all cancers – including breast cancer – recur as metastatic cancer.

How Verzenio can help

Verzenio works by blocking certain molecules that are involved in promoting the growth of cancerous cells. Verzenio is designed to be given in combination with an endocrine therapy called fulvestrat, but can also be given as a stand-alone treatment. Verzenio – along with the two other drugs in the same class, palbociclib and ribociclib – give hope to patients with breast cancer who have not responded to other treatments available today.

Written by a staff writer at UHealth.

Tags: breast cancer, FDA, Marc Lippman, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Verzenio

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