Data from Oncology and therapy - Curated by EPG Health - Date available 01 June 2017

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Review

Original date published

1 June 2017

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Fulvestrant is a selective estrogen receptor degrader that binds, blocks and degrades the estrogen receptor (ER), leading to complete inhibition of estrogen signaling through the ER. This review article further explains the mechanism of action of the drug and goes on to review the trials carried out to optimize its dosing. Multiple trials have been undertaken to compare fulvestrant with other endocrine treatments, and results have shown it to have similar efficacy to anastrozole, tamoxifen and exemestane at 250 mg every 28 days. However, when given at 500 mg every 28 days, with an extra loading dose on day 14, it has demonstrated an improved progression-free survival (PFS) compared to anastrozole. We look at how fulvestrant has been used in combination with CDK4/6 inhibitors such as palbociclib (PALOMA-3) and ribociclib (MONALEESA-3) and drugs targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway such as pictilisib (FERGI) and buparlisib (BELLE-2 and BELLE-3). We then go on to describe a selection of the ongoing clinical trials looking at combination therapy involving fulvestrant. Finally, we review the effect of fulvestrant in patients who have developed resistance to aromatase inhibitors via ESR1 mutation, where it has been shown to offer a PFS benefit that is further improved by the addition of the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib. Whilst fulvestrant is clearly an effective drug as monotherapy, we believe that its role in the treatment of ER-positive breast cancer may be best reserved for combination therapy, and whilst there are multiple trials currently in progress, it would appear that the combination with CDK4/6 inhibitors would offer the greatest promise in terms of balancing benefit with toxicity.

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