Women's Health

Minimal Side Effects with New Class of Breast Cancer Drugs

CDK inhibitors in practice

CDK inhibitors in practice

Cancer cells are dangerous in that they have the ability to spread cancerous genes to other parts of the body as they spread and multiply at an ever-increasing speed. The fundamental function of a CDK inhibitor is to interfere with the cell’s ability to split and multiply, thereby halting the spread of cancerous cells throughout the body.

CDK 4 and CDK 6 are two specific enzymes that help guide and control cell division in the body. Palbociclib, ribociclib, and abemaciclib each function by blocking the activity of the CDK 4 and CDK 6 enzymes. When combined with traditional endocrine therapy, the enzyme activity is halted and hormones are prevented from interacting with the cancerous cells. It is important to note that these therapies are separate treatments, and work together to effectively shut down the spread and multiplying of cancer cells.

Since CDK inhibitors are a separate therapy from endocrine therapy, they have separate and unique side effects. With more and more people taking on breast cancer therapies, researchers felt that it was important to study and review the side effects and drug interactions of the new CDK inhibitors in order to understand potential problems that might arise from combining treatments.

Bardia and a team of researchers reviewed all of the studies on palbociclib, ribociclib, and abemaciclib that had been made available to the public. For the most part, these studies formed the foundation of each of the drugs’ approval processes. Bardia’s goal was to identify the most common and most problematic side effects, and review how the potential toxicities and drug interactions might be best management by clinicians and medical oncologists.