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Novartis Kisqali significantly extends life in women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer in MONALEESA-7 trial

Novartis announced statistically significant overall survival (OS) results for Kisqali in combination with endocrine therapy[1]. The Phase 3 MONALEESA-7 trial evaluated Kisqali plus endocrine therapy (goserelin plus either an aromatase inhibitor or tamoxifen) as initial treatment compared to endocrine therapy alone in pre- and perimenopausal women with hormone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HR+/HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer[1]. MONALEESA-7 overall survival results will be featured in a press briefing today, presented as a late-breaker at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting (Abstract# LBA1008), and will be published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The significant extension in survival met the early efficacy stopping criteria at a pre-specified interim analysis following 192 deaths (median OS, not reached vs. 40.9 [95% CI: 37.8-NE] months; HR=0.712 [0.535-0.948]; p=0.00973). Overall survival rates in the intent-to-treat population (n=672) at 42 months were 70.2% for Kisqali combination therapy compared to 46.0% for endocrine therapy alone. At the time of data cut-off, 35% of women taking Kisqali combination therapy were continuing the treatment. No new safety signals were observed[1]. Kisqali is not indicated for use with tamoxifen.

“Overall survival benefit is considered the ‘gold standard’ in cancer trials but is challenging to achieve in HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer. MONALEESA-7 reached this important endpoint earlier than anticipated,” said Sara Hurvitz, MD, Medical Director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinical Research Unit and Director of the Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Program at UCLA. “Impactful results like these ribociclib findings are what we wish for in every clinical trial, and to achieve overall survival improvement in an incurable disease, like metastatic breast cancer, is truly an outstanding advancement for patients.”

Susanne Schaffert, Ph.D., CEO, Novartis Oncology, added, “Kisqali is the only CDK4/6 inhibitor to achieve statistically significant overall survival benefit in combination with endocrine therapy, and we are so proud to share these powerful data with the medical and patient community. These exciting results add to the proven efficacy and safety profile of Kisqali, solidify it as a standard of care for people living with HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer and inspire us to continue to reimagine medicine.”

Results from subgroup analyses showed that Kisqali plus an aromatase inhibitor demonstrated a 30.0% reduced risk of death compared to an aromatase inhibitor alone (median OS not reached vs. 40.7 months [37.4-NE]; HR=0.699 [0.501-0.976]), and Kisqali plus tamoxifen demonstrated a 20.9% reduced risk of death compared to tamoxifen alone (HR=0.791 [0.454-1.377])[1]. Kisqali is not indicated for use with tamoxifen. In the MONALEESA-7 primary analysis, increase in QTcF was on average greater and equal to 10 milliseconds in people taking tamoxifen plus placebo compared those taking aromatase inhibitor and placebo[4].

“Kisqali has characteristics that make it distinct from other CDK4/6 inhibitors. For one, Kisqali shows especially strong inhibition against CDK4. In pre-clinical data, Kisqali is four- to five-fold more potent against CDK4 compared to CDK6. CDK4 is likely the dominant CDK in breast cancer and a pivotal driver of disease progression,” said Jeff Engelman, MD, Global Head of Oncology Research, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research.

MJ DeCoteau, Executive Director of Rethink Breast Cancer, said, “Younger women living with advanced breast cancer encounter unique challenges as they face an incurable illness at the prime of their lives – they may be students, new moms or just embarking on their careers. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women 20-59, so knowing an approved treatment has been proven to help them live longer is an outstanding advancement and provides new hope for women with this devastating disease.”

About Kisqali® (ribociclib)

Kisqali® (ribociclib) is the CDK4/6 inhibitor with the largest body of first-line clinical trial evidence demonstrating consistent and sustained efficacy compared to endocrine therapy alone[5]. Kisqali is the only targeted therapy, including CDK4/6 inhibitors, in combination with endocrine therapy to demonstrate significantly longer overall survival compared to endocrine therapy alone as initial endocrine-based treatment for advanced breast cancer in the MONALEESA-7 trial[5]. Overall survival follow-up is ongoing for the Phase III MONALEESA-2 and MONALEESA-3 trials.

Novartis is continuing to reimagine cancer by investigating Kisqali in early breast cancer. The NATALEE study is a Phase III clinical trial of Kisqali with endocrine therapy in the adjuvant treatment of HR+/HER2- early breast cancer being conducted in collaboration with Translational Research In Oncology (TRIO)[5].

Kisqali is approved for use in more than 75 countries around the world, including the United States and European Union member states. Kisqali was initially approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2017 and by the European Commission (EC) in August 2017, as initial endocrine-based therapy for postmenopausal women with HR+/HER2- locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer in combination with an aromatase inhibitor based on findings from the pivotal MONALEESA-2 trial. Kisqali in combination with an aromatase inhibitor was approved for the treatment of pre-, peri- or postmenopausal women as initial endocrine based therapy, and also indicated for use in combination with fulvestrant as both first- or second-line therapy in postmenopausal women by the FDA in July 2018 and by the EC in December 2018. Regulatory filings are underway with other health authorities worldwide[5].

Kisqali was developed by the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) under a research collaboration with Astex Pharmaceuticals[5].