Ibrance Approved to Treat Advanced Breast Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Ibrance (palbociclib) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat advanced breast cancer among postmenopausal women.

Breast cancer among women is the second most common form of cancer in the United States, the FDA said in a news release. Almost 233,000 women in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, and 40,000 died from it, the agency said, citing the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Ibrance inhibits molecules that spur the growth of cancer cells. The drug is sanctioned for postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive human epidermal growth factor 2-negative breast cancer who haven't been given an endocrine-based therapy, the FDA said. It's meant to be given in combination with another approved anti-cancer drug, Femara (letrozole).

Ibrance's effectiveness was evaluated among 165 postmenopausal women with this form of breast cancer. Those treated with Ibrance and letrozole lived about 20 months without disease progression, compared with about 10 months among women given only letrozole, the FDA said.

The most common side effects of Ibrance included a decrease in infection-fighting blood cells, fatigue, anemia, upper respiratory infection, nausea, hair loss, diarrhea, low blood platelets, loss of appetite, nerve damage and nosebleed. Doctors should tell potential users of these risks, the FDA advised.

Ibrance is marketed by Pfizer, based in New York City.

More information

The FDA has more about this approval.