The most common cancer among women caused 15% of women’s cancer deaths worldwide in 2018. What subset of patients does the research breakthrough cover, and how far will it help women in India?

A recent study led by a group of researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has found that adding a drug, ribociclib, to hormone therapy significantly increased the overall survival in relatively younger women suffering from advanced breast cancer.

The study covered women who had not yet reached menopause or were still going through it. They were suffering from hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer and HER2-negative disease. HR+ cancer involves tumours that are receptive to anti-estrogen (endocrine) treatments aimed at blocking hormones while HER2-negative means that the patient lacks a protein of that name.

What the study found
Described as “one of the greatest advances in breast cancer in recent decades”, the study was conducted on 672 pre-menopausal women under age 59 years who had advanced HR+.  After 42 months, 70% of the patients treated with combination therapy (drug and hormone) were alive as compared to 46% of those who received only the hormone therapy.