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ER+ News Ahead of San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

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Published on October 28, 2020

Doctor Shares Exciting ER+ News Ahead of SABCS

There are many exciting announcements to come for ER+ breast cancer at this year’s San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) in December 2020, including the FDA approval of two new classes of treatment drugs, CDK4/6 inhibitors and oral selective estrogen receptor degraders (SERDs).  

Join our host, breast cancer patient advocate Megan-Claire Chase, and Dr. Erika Hamilton, Director of the Breast Cancer and Gynecologic Cancer Research Program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute, as they discuss these groundbreaking new medicines. They are also joined by Breast Cancer Patient Sherry Hitt as she shares her personal treatment experience with oral SERDs. 

This series is sponsored by Daiichi Sankyo. This organization has no editorial control. It is produced by Patient Power, and Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.


Transcript | ER+ News Ahead of San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

Megan-Claire Chase: 

So, what ER+ news is coming out of San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December that you're excited about? 

Dr. Hamilton: 

We've seen a lot about this class of medicines called CDK4/6 inhibitors that are now approved for first line, second line, and really beyond in metastatic breast cancer.  

What Are CDK4/6 Inhibitors? 

The CDK4/6 inhibitors are a class of drugs, there are three of them; ribociclib (Kisqali), palbociclib (Ibrance) and abemaciclib (Verzenio). So three different drugs made by different companies, but in the same class of compounds. They are FDA approved for first line and second line metastatic hormonally driven breast cancer in the first line in combination with an aromatase inhibitor.

So, you know, a letrozole (Femara)exemestane (Aromasin), that type of drug. And in the second line in combination with fulvestrant (Faslodexor that shot endocrine therapy that I was talking about, and then abemaciclib, it also has a little extra approval. It's actually approved as a single agent for people that may have more heavily pretreated breast cancer with two or more chemos. So that's an option as well. So those are FDA approved. However, we're looking at CDK4/6 inhibitors in new places. So, patients that may have been high risk and the fact that they had multiple positive lymph nodes but have not had any cancer come back. That as far as we know that they're cured that they're at high risk of recurrence. We're looking at those drugs there.

What Are Oral SERDs?

And then the final thing that I'm excited about at San Antonio is a class of new drugs and there's a variety of them and several other compounds in this class, but the oral SERDs. 

So this pill version of the next generation of fulvestrant. And how this drug works is instead of blocking estrogen binding to the estrogen receptor on cancer cells, we can think of estrogen as food for those cancer cells to grow. Instead of just trying to block the estrogen from binding, we know that there's this mutation called ESR1, where those estrogen receptors are like a light switch. They just get turned on and they're always signaling even if estrogen isn't around. And so, what the SERDs do is they're degraders. They actually bind that little estrogen receptor and chew it up and spit it out. So, it's a really exciting new class of medicines that I think is going to help a lot of people. And I've heard through the grapevine, we're going to be hearing some things about that class at San Antonio. 

Megan-Claire Chase: 

I think my head just exploded with excitement. Wow. Because I am endocrine resistant. And so just finally hearing that there actually may be an option or there is an option that's coming is huge.  

Dr. Hamilton: 

I am excited because I've seen patients like Sherry benefit from these drugs. She's actually been on two medicines that are kind of in this class of SERDs or similar compounds. She started one in March of 2019 and got nine months benefit out of that one. And she's on a different one now that she's been on since December of 2019, and she's been on it for 10 months and is going strong. Doing great. 

What Do Patients Think of Oral SERDs?

Megan-Claire Chase: 

How are you feeling, Sherry? 

Sherry Hitt: 

Most days are very normal. I deal with some upset stomach issues. Generally, can control that with Imodium (loperamide). But aside from that, it's rare now to have a slow, low energy day. That being said, I don't get out and do a lot of things I used to, but I am 63 also. I take care of that five-year-old grandson a couple of days a week and get him to preschool and back. So, I have that kind of energy. 

Dr. Hamilton: 

Which let's be honest is not an easy job, chasing after a five-year-old. 

Sherry Hitt: 

It's definitely not an easy job, but it's a fun job. And I really can get through the grocery store and do shopping and things like that. It's just that we've not been able to go out and do those kinds of things except very hurriedly lately, but I have a good quality of life. 

Megan-Claire Chase: 

That's amazing to hear.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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