Cancer denotes a collection of diseases driven by genetic alterations that accelerate the uncontrolled proliferation of abnormal cells. Cancer is a major cause of death worldwide, so it is unsurprising that oncology persists as the leading therapeutic interest for clinical trials, as attempts to fulfil the omnipresent demand for therapies to combat the complexities of this morbidity continue.

The prevailing incidence of breast cancer and resultant mortalities reinforces the importance of acknowledging Breast Cancer Awareness month, which celebrated its 37th anniversary this October. Data reported on GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence platform indicates that breast cancer research has steadily increased year after year (Figure 1).

A significant approval by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) was well-timed for Breast Cancer Awareness month. The approval is for the combination of two therapies, the first being Pfizer’s cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4 and 6 inhibitor, Palbociclib (Ibrance). It works by preventing a cell transitioning from the G1 growth phase into the S DNA synthesis phase. It is intended to be used alongside the selective oestrogen receptor degrader, Fulvestrant. This combination was shown to decrease the G1 to S phase transition greater than either drug alone.

The seemingly powerful duo has the potential to treat more than 2,000 hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-) NHS patients in advanced or metastatic stages of their disease who have exhausted endocrine therapy.

This novel antineoplastic treatment follows the consistent increase in HER2- clinical trials over the last five years, which has seen the number of trials virtually double from 2018 to date. The increased investment into HR+/HER2- research correlates with the emergence of Pfizer’s novel therapy, which is expected to provide new hope for thousands of patients.