The Pfizer drug has been able to slow the progression of breast tumors even in advanced cases
The National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance (Anvisa) has released the commercialization of another treatment against breast cancer in Brazil . This is palbociclib, the drug Pfizer, which is specifically targeted to advanced cases, where the disease has already affected much of the region or even spread to other corners of the body.
They are basically two indications for this drug. The first involves postmenopausal women with tumors in the breast that are stimulated by the female hormone estrogen, but which are not related to the HER-2 gene. These particularities may seem a bit complicated, but know that such a profile accounts for about 60% of cases of breast cancer.
In this situation, palbociclib comes on the scene as the first treatment of choice in conjunction with letrozole, a type of hormone therapy that inhibits the action of estrogen on cancer cells. This, as we have said, when the tumor invaded other organs.
According to the studies that provided marketing , palbociclib and hormone therapy together were able to slow the progression of cancer, on average, by 25 months. When applied in combination with a pill with no real effect, hormone therapy guaranteed no more than 14 months of disease-free survival.
But there is another scenario where the Pfizer drug can be prescribed. We are talking about adults in any age group in which that type of breast cancer has advanced even after the use of some isolated hormone therapy. There, it enters as a second line of treatment, together with another substance – fulvestrant.
It is worth noting that we are not necessarily talking about a longer life. Surveys show, above all, that the patient receiving palbociclib remains a longer period with her disease controlled – which is already a great advantage especially in terms of quality of life.
How the new medicine works
In short, it inhibits the action of molecules that incite the proliferation of breast cancer and, in a way, prevents the disease from developing resistance against hormone therapy. That is why oncologists will prescribe the two strategies together.
Palcociclib offers less adverse reactions than traditional chemotherapy sessions because it acts more selectively . And it can be given orally – without the need for infusions.
Who will have access
At present, the value of palbociclib still needs to be discussed with national regulatory agencies. But it is certain that, at first, it will not even be part of the mandatory coverage of health insurance. In the public sector, a possible incorporation should take time.
The drug has been available since 2015 in the United States. And in the European Union, it was approved in 2016.
It should be noted, however, that there are more possible treatments for other subtypes of the disease, in different stages. When the tumor is detected in its first steps, the chance of cure is higher and involves more known methods such as surgery.