Metastatic breast cancer (also known as Stage IV breast cancer) is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, brain, bones or lungs 1. This happens when cells from the original tumor break away and enter the lymphatic system or bloodstream, where they can travel to other body parts.
Metastatic breast cancer cannot be cured, but there are a number of different treatments that are used to control the disease and slow its progression.
Verzenio (abemaciclib) is a type of therapeutic drug called a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor 2. Clinical trials have demonstrated Verzenio as an effective treatment against metastatic breast cancer, finding that it significantly reduced tumor size, slowed cancer progression and improved the overall survival of patients.
How Verzenio Works
Verzenio is a type of medication used to treat HR+/HER- (hormone receptor positive/human epidermal growth factor 2-negative) metastatic breast cancer 3. It is a targeted therapy that works by targeting the specific parts of the body affected by cancer 4.
Verzenio identifies and blocks CDK proteins 5 (specifically CDK4 and CDK6) in cancerous cells. CDK4 and CDK6 control cell growth and division. By blocking them, Verzenio stops cancerous cells from growing or dividing and can therefore slow down tumor growth and disease progression.
Drug Effectiveness & Clinical Trial Results
The efficacy of Verzenio as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer has been demonstrated in a series of clinical trials (called MONARCH 1, MONARCH 2 and MONARCH 3).
Data from all three trials found that treatment with Verzenio (when used in combination with hormone therapy) significantly slowed cancer progression and prolonged the overall survival of breast cancer patients 6. Verzenio was also shown to significantly reduce tumor size, with an average decrease of 76.1% following 24 cycles of treatment observed in the MONARCH 3 study 7.
Treatment with Verzenio was also found to significantly improve progression-free survival 8 (i.e. remission rates) among patients with metastatic breast cancer.
How Verzenio Is Administered & Dose Information
Verzenio is recommended for the treatment of patients with HR+/HER- advanced or metastatic breast cancer. The medication may be taken alone or alongside Fulvestrant (another medication used to treat HR+/HER- metastatic breast cancer). Patients taking a combination of Verzenio and Fulvestrant should also be treated with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist according to current clinical practise standards 9.
When taken as a monotherapy (alone) the recommended dose of Verzenio is 200mg to be taken orally twice a day. If Verzenio is taken as part of a combination therapy (i.e. alongside fulvestrant or hormone therapy) the standard recommended dose is 150mg twice daily 10.
Verzenio dosage may also be modified to reduce adverse treatment effects. If the patient cannot tolerate the initial dose of 200mg, it will be dropped to 150mg, then 100mg, then 50mg. If the patient is unable to tolerate a 50mg dose, treatment with Verzenio will be stopped.
Verzenio Side Effects & Safety
Treatment with Verzenio can cause a wide variety of side effects ranging from mild to serious. Some of these side effects may require medical attention, and you should contact your doctor if your symptoms are severe or persistent.
The most common side effects of Verzenio treatment include:
- Decreased appetite
- Hair loss
- Severe abdominal pain
Less common side effects of Verzenio treatment include:
- Skin rash
- Joint pain
- Reduced sense of taste
- Weight loss
- Painful swelling and sores inside the mouth
- Fluid retention in the arms, legs, feet or hands
Rarely, Verzenio treatment may lead to the following serious side effects 11:
- Blood clots in the brain, lung, pelvic vein or artery
- Lung diseases (such as pneumonitis)
- Liver problems (such as an increased level of liver enzymes)
- Decreased levels of white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets (indicated by recurrent infections, fever and excessive bruising)
- Increased levels of creatine (indicated by dehydration, fatigue and shortness of breath)
- Allergic reactions
The rarest side effects of Verzenio treatment are often the most serious, and can cause life-threatening complications. Call 911 or a doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms while taking Verzenio.
How Much Does Verzenio Cost and Is It Covered By Medicare?
The cost of Verzenio 50mg, 100mg, 150mg and 200mg oral tablets is approximately $3,239 for a 14 day supply 12.
Verzenio is also covered by Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. Contact your insurance provider to find out if your Verzenio prescription is covered by your plan 13.
Current Metastatic Breast Cancer Clinical Trials
At Clara Health, we have our own patient-focused database for Current Metastatic Breast Cancer Clinical Trials to help you match with a study that best fits your life situation!
Quick Facts About Breast Cancer
How Common Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women worldwide 14, though incidence rates vary widely by region. In the United States, an estimated 1 in 8 women are affected by breast cancer. This means that the average risk of a woman developing breast cancer in her life is around 13% 15.
Breast cancer is the fifth most common cause of death from cancer in women, and the disease accounts for 6.4% of cancer-related deaths worldwide 16.
Breast Cancer And Gender
Men can also develop breast cancer, though the disease is far more common in women. An estimated 1 in 883 US men will develop breast cancer 17 at some point in their lifetime, compared to 1 in 8 US women.
Breast Cancer And Age
Breast cancer risk is strongly linked to age, and rises as you get older. Breast cancer is rare in the 20s and 30s, with this age group accounting for just 5% of all diagnosed cases 18.
The incidence rates for breast cancer in women start to rise more steeply after the age of 40, and almost a quarter (24%) of annual cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 75. In men, the risk of developing breast cancer significantly increases from the age of 65 19.
About Clara Health
Clara Health is a patient-centric healthcare platform that was established to assist patients in finding relevant research studies & clinical trials. At Clara, we believe that each and every patient should have the ability to access the most advanced healthcare treatments currently available and we are on a mission to make this process as effortless as possible.
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More About Clinical Studies & Trials:
1"Metastatic Breast Cancer: Symptoms ...." 13 Oct. 2020, https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types/recur_metast.
2"FDA Approves Verzenio (Abemaciclib) for Certain Advanced ...." 29 Sep. 2017, https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/fda-approves-verzenio-abemaciclib-for-certain-advanced-breast-cancers.html.
3"Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment | Verzenio (abemaciclib)." https://www.verzenio.com/.
4"Verzenio - Medical News Today." https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/verzenio.
5"FDA Approves Verzenio (Abemaciclib) for Certain Advanced ...." 29 Sep. 2017, https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/fda-approves-verzenio-abemaciclib-for-certain-advanced-breast-cancers.html.
6"Verzenio Delays Cancer Progression & Prolongs Survival in ...." 24 Sep. 2020, https://news.cancerconnect.com/breast-cancer/verzenio-delays-cancer-progression-prolongs-survival-in-breast-cancer-UxM6iwjKl0K7ZTEcj41Ttw.
7"MONARCH 3 final PFS: a randomized study of abemaciclib as ...." 17 Jan. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6336880/.
8"MONARCH 2: Abemaciclib in Combination With Fulvestrant in ...." 1 Sep. 2017, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28580882/.
9"Verzenio Dosage Guide - Drugs.com." 30 Mar. 2020, https://www.drugs.com/dosage/verzenio.html.
10"Verzenio Dosage Guide - Drugs.com." 30 Mar. 2020, https://www.drugs.com/dosage/verzenio.html.
11"Verzenio: Side effects, alternatives, how it works, and more." https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/verzenio.
12"Verzenio Prices, Coupons & Patient Assistance Programs ...." https://www.drugs.com/price-guide/verzenio.
13"Verzenio Cost Information | With or Without Insurance ...." https://www.lillypricinginfo.com/verzenio.
14"Breast cancer | World Cancer Research Fund International." https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/breast-cancer.
15"How Common Is Breast Cancer? | Breast Cancer Statistics." 8 Jan. 2020, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/how-common-is-breast-cancer.html.
16"Breast cancer | World Cancer Research Fund International." https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/breast-cancer.
17"U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics | Breastcancer.org." 25 Jun. 2020, https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics.
18"Breast Cancer in Your 20s and 30s: Statistics and More." 17 Sep. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/breast-cancer-20s-30s.
19"Breast cancer incidence (invasive) statistics | Cancer ...." https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/breast-cancer/incidence-invasive.