A solution to recurring breast cancer may have been found by experts at one of the leading pharmaceuticals in the U.S. A new drug-therapy combination was found to help reduce the rate of breast cancer recurrence in patients by 25 percent.

On Sunday, Sept. 20, in a news release, Eli Lilly and Company revealed that they have seen positive outcomes in a combination of a drug and a known therapy that help fight breast cancer. Abemaciclib, known by its brand name Verzenio, combined with adjuvant endocrine therapy, was discovered by experts to help reduce breast cancer recurrence risk by 25 percent. This was in the group of women who have a common breast cancer subtype.

Aside from lowering the risk of recurrence, the combo treatment also showed promise in reducing the development of diseases due to metastasis, which happens when cancer spreads and starts infecting other parts of the body from where it started. The bone and liver showed a 28 percent reduction in metastatic disease.

The findings of Eli Lilly were published in the Clinical Oncology journal and presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology 2020 Virtual Congress.

The findings of Lilly were from an ongoing Phase 3 trial, known as monarchE, which involved 5,637 patients coming from 38 counties, all of whom have breast cancer subtype. For the two-year treatment period, some patients received 150 mg of Verzenio given twice daily and endocrine therapy. The control group received only the adjuvant endocrine therapy. After the two-year treatment period, all patients will continue with endocrine therapy for five to 10 years more. The expected completion date of the trial is in June 2027.

Based on the press release of Lilly, the objective of the study is an invasive disease-free survival (IDFS). This will entail the period before cancer would recur, or new cancer would develop, or worse, death.

New drug-therapy combo shows promise in reducing breast cancer recurrence. Photo: Pixabay

Dr Stephen Johnston, the lead investigator for the trial and a consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said that the findings are considered as a major milestone for those who have a high risk of early breast cancer. He also described the treatment as one of the most advanced in the last two decades. In the event that the drug is approved, it can represent a brand new standard of care for the current population.