FDA Approves Kisqali as Initial Endocrine Therapy for Advanced Breast Cancer
by C.H. Weaver M.D.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Kisqali (ribociclib) in combination with an aromatase inhibitor for the treatment of pre/perimenopausal or postmenopausal women with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer, as initial endocrine-based therapy. The FDA also approved Kisqali in combination with fulvestrant for the treatment of postmenopausal women with HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer, as initial endocrine based therapy or following disease progression on endocrine therapy.
Kisqali is a selective cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor-this class of drugs helps slow the progression of cancer by inhibiting two proteins called cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6 (CDK4/6). These proteins, when over-activated, can enable cancer cells to grow and divide too quickly. Targeting CDK4/6 with enhanced precision may play a role in ensuring that cancer cells do not continue to replicate uncontrollably.
This is the first approval that FDA has granted as a part of two new pilot programs announced earlier this year that collectively aim to make the development and review of cancer drugs more efficient, while improving FDA’s rigorous standard for evaluating efficacy and safety. With this real-time review, the FDA was able to start evaluating the clinical data as soon as the trial results become available, enabling FDA to be ready to approve the new indication upon filing of a formal application with the Agency.
Kisqali was first approved in March 2017 for use with an AI to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer in post-menopausal women whose cancer is advanced or has spread to other parts of the body.
“The approval adds a new treatment choice for patients with breast cancer,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We are committed to continuing to bring more treatment options to patients.”
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health estimates approximately 266,120 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 40,920 will die of the disease. Approximately 72 percent of patients with breast cancer have tumors that are HR-positive and HER2-negative.
The common side effects of Kisqali are infections, abnormally low count of a type of white blood cell (neutropenia), a reduction in the number of white cells in the blood (leukopenia), headache, cough, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, hair loss and rash.