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Progress with palbociclib in breast cancer: latest evidence and clinical considerations

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Published:1st Feb 2017
Author: Rocca A, Schirone A, Maltoni R, Bravaccini S, Cecconetto L, Farolfi A et al.
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Ref.:Ther Adv Med Oncol. 2017;9(2):83-105.
Progress with palbociclib in breast cancer: latest evidence and clinical considerations

Deregulation of the cell cycle is a hallmark of cancer, and research on cell cycle control has allowed identification of potential targets for anticancer treatment. Palbociclib is a selective inhibitor of the cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6), which are involved, with their coregulatory partners cyclin D, in the G1-S transition. Inhibition of this step halts cell cycle progression in cells in which the involved pathway, including the retinoblastoma protein (Rb) and the E2F family of transcription factors, is functioning, although having been deregulated. Among breast cancers, those with functioning cyclin D-CDK4/6-Rb-E2F are mainly hormone-receptor (HR) positive, with some HER2-positive and rare triple-negative cases. Deregulation results from genetic or otherwise occurring hyperactivation of molecules subtending cell cycle progression, or inactivation of cell cycle inhibitors. Based on results of randomized clinical trials, palbociclib was granted accelerated approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in combination with letrozole as initial endocrine-based therapy for metastatic disease in postmenopausal women with HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, and was approved for use in combination with fulvestrant in women with HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer with disease progression following endocrine therapy. This review provides an update of the available knowledge on the cell cycle and its regulation, on the alterations in cyclin D-CDK4/6-Rb-E2F axis in breast cancer and their roles in endocrine resistance, on the preclinical activity of CDK4/6 inhibitors in breast cancer, both as monotherapy and as partners of combinatorial synergic treatments, and on the clinical development of palbociclib in breast cancer.

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