Skip to content

UCLA researchers new method for breast cancer


Improvement to hormone therapy

Researchers with the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered when adding ribociclib to hormone therapy, it has unexpected benefits for breast cancer patients in a recent study shared this month.

When ribociclib is added to hormone therapy, there are significant invasive disease-free survival benefits in patients with early hormone-receptor positive/HER2 negative breast cancer, the study shows.

Patients who took the combination therapy had substantially longer invasive disease-free survival compared to those who were treated with hormone therapy alone, regardless of whether the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes. The addition of therapy drugs reduced the risk of recurrence by 25%.

The results of the study were shared during the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting by Dr. Dennis Slamon, chair of hematology-oncology and director of the clinical and translational research at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“The results from the clinical trial have immediate implications for patients,” Slamon said. “The findings show this combination is a treatment of choice for patients with stage 2 or stage 3 HR positive/HER2 negative breast cancer.”

HR positive/HER2 negative breast cancer is the most common subtype of the disease and accounts for nearly 70% of breast cancer cases in the United States.

The study led to the FDA approval of ribociclib and other related drugs to treat metastatic breast cancer. Three CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved by the FDA for combination treatment with standard hormone therapies in the metastatic setting.

“Overall, the combination therapy showed more favorable outcomes, significantly reducing the risk of the cancer returning,” Slamon said. “These results should change how we evaluate and treat patients.”

The study was sponsored by Novartis, which developed ribociclib at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research under a research collaboration with Astex Pharmaceuticals.