Palbociclib (Ibrance), a Pfizer drug targeted at women with metastatic, hormone-receptive breast cancer, has been termed "the next blockbuster" in various media reports. It’s spent months going through clinical trials.
But starting today, it’s going to get a chance to prove itself in the marketplace: on Tuesday the FDA granted the drug accelerated approval, saying it "may offer a substantial improvement over available therapies."
Paired with Femara, a familiar aromatase inhibitor already prescribed to millions of survivors, palbociclib performed well in its current phase 2 trials, doubling the amount of time tumor growth stalled, compared to current drugs.
While the drug comes with some fairly serious side effects, including anemia, fatigue, and low white blood cell counts, it offers new hope to women whose cancer has spread.
So, if you’re a post-menopausal survivor with hormone-receptive cancer facing a stage 4 diagnosis, ask your oncologist about palbociclib. It might just offer you new hope for a longer life.
PJ Hamel is senior digital content editor and food writer at King Arthur Flour, and a James Beard award-winning author. A 16-year breast cancer survivor, her passion is helping women through this devastating disease. She manages a large and active online survivor support network based at her local hospital and shares her wisdom and experience with the greater community via HealthCentral.com.