An NHS breast cancer drug could reduce women’s risk of tumor regrowth if given to more patients, a study suggests.
Research found that the drug ribociclib reduced recurrence by 25 percent when given on top of standard treatment.
It is currently being used by the NHS for women whose cancer has already spread. However, experts believe thousands with the most common type of previous tumors could benefit.
Director of Studies Dr. Dennis Slamon of the University of California Los Angeles said the patients in the study experienced a “significant and meaningful improvement” in their condition.
Around 56,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK each year.
The study looked at 5,101 people with stages two or three of a type called HR-positive HER2-negative, which is the most common type and accounts for about seven in ten cases.
In seven percent of patients who took the drug, the cancer grew back after treatment, compared to nine percent of those who took standard medication.
dr Kotryna Temcinaite, from the Breast Cancer Now charity, said: “The drug targets specific proteins that help cancer cells to multiply and by blocking these it can slow or stop the cancer’s growth.”
“We know that many women and their families fear breast cancer recurrence. Therefore, new treatments like ribociclib that can reduce this risk are extremely welcome.”
“This treatment now needs to be submitted for approval and reviewed for use with the NHS expeditiously so that this patient population has a chance to benefit from it as soon as possible.”
dr Slamon added, “There is a significant unmet need to reduce the risk of recurrence and provide a tolerable treatment option that keeps patients cancer-free.”
Patients in the study, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago, were given the drug for three years.
Ribociclib is already being used by the NHS, meaning hospitals could get it quicker than a new drug.
dr Catherine Elliott of Cancer Research UK said: “Further research is needed but the initial results of the study are encouraging.”