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How Kinase Inhibitors May Help to Postpone Chemotherapy

For metastatic breast cancer patients, learning that the cancer has proliferated to other parts of the body means formidable treatment regimens of chemotherapy and its arduous side effects. But some patients who have hormone receptor-positive and HR2-negative metastatic breast cancer can postpone chemotherapy for a year by taking hormone therapy. A new drug for metastatic breast cancer has been approved, which can help patients have a longer reprieve by delaying chemotherapy.

Here are notable facts about the drugs

  • They belong to a class of targeted therapy cancer drugs known as kinase inhibitors. A kinase is a cell protein that receives signals from other cells and passes on the instructions into the cell’s nucleus. The cell performs several functions including dividing, growing or even shutting itself off after receiving the signal.
  • The drugs target the CDK 4 and CDK 6 in order to regulate the growth and division of cells. By blocking these proteins, the growth of cancer cells will slow down. Patients with HR-positive and HER-negative have encountered positive results by combining a CDK 4/6 inhibitor with hormone therapy.
  • The three CDK 4/6 inhibitors approved by the FDA for treatment of metastatic breast cancer include Palbociclib (Ibrance), Ribociclib (Kigali) and Abemaciclig (Verzenio). Palbociclib and ribociclib are usually administered with the anti-estrogen drug known as fulvestrant (Faslodex) to regulate hormones. Abemaciclib is a standalone therapy.
  • These drugs have common side effects such as fatigue, nausea, and diarrhea. But there are quite tolerable and easy to administer.

The CDK 4/6 inhibitors are approved for HER-negative and HR-positive breast cancer only. However, clinical trials are being carried out to determine whether the inhibitors can be used to treat prostate, lung and other breast cancer types.


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