Pfizer Breast Cancer Drug Sees Positive Results in Mid-Stage Trial

Researchers are racing to find a cure or an improved treatment plan for many diseases, including breast cancer. Pharmaceutical research company Pfizer may have come one step closer to one of those end goals. In early February, Pfizer announced that its drug palbociclib was able to help stop the progression of advanced stage breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

The oral treatment inhibits two proteins called cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) 4 and 6 to get a control on cell cycles while blocking tumors from growing. Researchers gave it to study participants along with letrozole, which is a hormone therapy drug that helps estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer patients. A ER+ breast cancer diagnosis means the female hormone contributes to the progression of the disease. Additionally, those who took part in the trial were human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-), which means they did not have the protein that is involved with cell growth.

"We are delighted with the final data, which suggest the potential for palbociclib to transform the standard of care for post-menopausal women with ER+ and HER2- advanced breast cancer," Dr. Mace Rothenberg, senior vice president of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs for Pfizer Oncology, said in a statement. "This is encouraging information for these women, who represent approximately 60 percent of the advanced breast cancer population."

The next step is for Pfizer to begin talks with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to have the pharmaceutical regulated in an effort to get it to market.

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