'Groundbreaking' Drug Stalls Breast Cancer
Palbociclib appears to double time before disease worsens: study
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 7, 2014 7:54 AM CDT
A new drug helps fight cancer's progression, a study shows.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A new breast cancer drug may help prevent the disease from getting worse, a study shows—and some experts are seeing major benefits ahead. Palbociclib almost doubled the time patients survived without seeing their disease progress, Reuters reports, noting that the women in the study had the most common form of the cancer. Women treated with the drug plus a hormone drug called letrozole lived 20.2 months on average before the cancer worsened, compared to 10.2 months among those who took just letrozole. Subjects also seemed to live slightly longer overall on the drug, but the results on that front weren't statistically significant, the New York Times reports.

Still, "the magnitude of benefit we are seeing is not something commonly seen in cancer medicine studies," the study's lead investigator tells the Times, calling the findings "groundbreaking." The drug works by targeting enzymes used in cell division, the newspaper explains. Pfizer has high hopes for palbociclib as a future blockbuster drug. If it's approved, it could see yearly sales of some $5 billion, according to analysts. The research on 165 subjects "is a small Phase 2 trial—not tiny, but not the kind of study that would typically lead to a change in practice," notes an expert. Still, if the FDA offers quick approval, palbociclib could be on the market next year, the Times reports. (Meanwhile, insurers are panicking over a $1,000-a-day wonder drug.)

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
charlesSpeirceCLONE
Apr 7, 2014 3:09 PM CDT
Seems to repeatedly address an objective of longevity but not so much quality of life and quality of death. There are persons who choose shorter lives in favor of a life more worth living.
JoeQ
Apr 7, 2014 9:34 AM CDT
Perfect for the drug companies ... it treats it but doesn't cure it outright.
No-Left-Turn
Apr 7, 2014 9:18 AM CDT
I would take 10 more months any day, but that's far, far from a cure. Our progress against cancer remains painfully slow.