New Treatment for Advanced Breast Cancer: Ribociclib


TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Two-hundred, fifty-three thousand women will be diagnosed this year with invasive breast cancer, and for women battling advanced forms of the disease, there’s now a new treatment. Doctors are calling it a first line of defense for advanced breast cancer.

With a hot pink ride, decked out with lighted wheels, nothing is going to get in the way of mother Sally McGiffin and her daughter Shannon McGiffin. Not even cancer.

“When we first got diagnosis we sat and cried maybe half an hour to an hour, and then she looked at me and said this disease is not going to beat me,” Sally told Ivanhoe.

That attitude and a newly-approved FDA drug called Ribociclib, has kept Shannon McGiffin’s stage four metastic breast cancer under control.

“It’s a miracle.  It really is a miracle for me to be able to have survived this long.” Shannon said.

Oncologist Heather Han, MD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida says when combined with hormonal therapy, Ribociclib stops signals that cancer cells use to grow and divide.

“I’m obviously very excited that this drug finally actually quickly got approved, and I’m able to be there to help patients to do better,” Dr. Han explained.

Doctor Han says the Ribociclib combination can be used as the first line of defense. The risk of progression or death has been reduced by 44 percent.

Dr. Han continued, “So it’s been in clinical trial for several years, but FDA was able to approve it quickly when it showed dramatic improvement of the patients.”

The side effects for her have been high blood sugar levels and fatigue.

“I do spend a lot of my time sleeping,” Shannon admitted.

For Shannon, it’s not a cure, but it has given her precious time with those who matter most.

Candidates for this drug usually can be patients with newly diagnosed advanced breast cancer, hormone receptor positive and HER2 negative. Patients’ EKGs must be monitored in the first few weeks of taking the drug to make sure it doesn’t cause any cardiac issues.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Emily Maza Gleason, Field Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Travis Bell, Videographer.

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REPORT:       MB #4270

BACKGROUND: Breast cancer can be formed out of healthy cells in the breast that turn into a cancerous or benign tumor. Both cancerous and benign tumors can grow; however, a cancerous tumor can spread while a benign tumor will not.  Breast cancer usually spreads to nearby lymph nodes; however once it reaches stage IV metastasis cancer it can spread to the bones, lungs, liver, and brain. Symptoms can include joint pain, seizures, shortness of breath, vomiting, and fatigue. Breast cancer is the second-most common cause of death for women after lung cancer. In fact, 253,000 women will be diagnosed this year with invasive breast cancer.

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STANDARD TREATMENT:  The recommended treatments for breast cancer include surgical operations, where the breast cancer is removed, or the entire breast must be removed to eliminate all tumors in the affected breast. Besides surgical treatments, there are radiation therapies to kill cancer cells. In addition, adjuvant chemotherapy is recommended to decrease the chance of cancer recurring. Occasionally, chemotherapy is given to patients to aide in surgery for women with larger tumors. Overall, chemotherapy is used to control the cancer and may result in hair loss, nausea, fatigue, and increased risk of developing infection.

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NEW TECHNOLOGY:  A newly FDA- approved drug, Ribociclib, is used along with hormonal therapy to stop the signals that grow and divide cancer cells.  After a clinical trial that focused on candidates with advanced cancer and no prior therapy, the analysis concluded that the risk of the cancer becoming fatal was reduced by 44 percent. This innovation can also treat women who have an HR positive receptor, which is more common in women after menopause. It not only treats patients with HR positive receptor, but with HER2 negative receptor as well. The main reason why Ribociclib, marketed as Kisqali, is innovative is because it seeks to block the protein that causes the cancer to grow.

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Moffitt Cancer Center

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Doctor Q and A

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