Younger women with breast cancer have been given the hope of living longer after what is described as “one of the greatest advances in breast cancer research in recent decades”, The Guardian and The Telegraph reports.
Adding ribociclib, a targeted drug that disrupts cancer cells, to standard hormone therapy was found to boost survival among premenopausal patients who have an advanced form of the disease.
The Guardian reports that the risk of death was cut by almost a third compared with those treated with hormone therapy alone, according to the study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago.
Charities said the breakthrough is one of the greatest advances in treatment of the disease for decades – giving precious time to thousands of women with few treatment options.
They said the results, announced at the world’s largest cancer conference, in Chicago, were “indescribably good news” for patients and their families.
Advanced breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in young women, with cases often more aggressive and more likely to be diagnosed in their later stages.
The research, led by Dr Sara Hurvitz of the University of California in Los Angeles, followed 672 pre-menopausal women under the age of 59 who had advanced hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer.
Researchers found that 70 per cent of women given the drug ribociclib, in combination with hormone therapy, were still alive three and a half years later.
“This is indescribably good news for patients and their families,” said Lady Delyth Morgan, the chief executive at Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now.
After 42 months, 70% of those treated with the combination therapy were still alive, compared with 46% of those who received just hormone therapy.