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ASCO conference: Novartis' Kisqali prolongs breast cancer patients' lives

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The 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology takes place from May 31 to June 4.
Source: ASCO

Novartis AG said its drug Kisqali combined with endocrine therapy helped more breast cancer patients live for 3.5 years than endocrine therapy alone in a late-stage trial.

In the phase 3 trial named Monaleesa-7, 70% of premenopausal women with advanced HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer lived for 42 months on the combination treatment. Of women who only had endocrine therapy, only 46% lived that long.

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Novartis will present the study results June 4 at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The 672 women in the study lived a median of 10.8 months longer without disease worsening with Kisqali and endocrine therapy than with the therapy alone.

"This is the first study to show improved survival for any targeted therapy when used with endocrine therapy as a first-line treatment for advanced breast cancer," said lead study author Sara Hurvitz, Director of the Breast Cancer Clinical Research program at the University of California, Los Angeles Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. "The use of [Kisqali] as a front-line therapy significantly prolonged overall survival, which is good news for women with this terrible disease."

Although advanced breast cancer is less common in premenopausal women than in those who are older, 2% more women aged 20 to 39 were diagnosed each year from 1978 to 2008, according to a press release.

"Advanced breast cancer in premenopausal women can be very aggressive," ASCO expert Harold Burstein said. "It is important and encouraging to see a targeted therapy that significantly increases survival for younger women with this disease."

Kisqali was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2017 in combination with endocrine therapy for breast cancer.

The 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting is expected to bring together more than 32,000 professionals from around the world, with more than 2,400 study abstracts to be presented on site and an additional 3,200 abstracts to be published online.