Cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 drives cell proliferation in estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer. This single-arm phase II neoadjuvant trial (NeoPalAna) assessed the anti-proliferative activity of the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib in primary breast cancer as a prelude to adjuvant studies.
Eligible patients with clinical stage II/III ER+/HER2- breast cancer received anastrozole 1mg daily for 4 weeks (cycle 0) (with goserelin if premenopausal), followed by adding palbociclib (125mg daily on days 1-21) on cycle 1 day 1 (C1D1) for four 28-day cycles unless C1D15 Ki67>10%, in which case patients went off study due to inadequately response. Anastrozole was continued until surgery, which occurred 3-5 weeks post palbociclib exposure. Later patients received additional 10-12 days of palbociclib (Cycle 5) immediately before surgery. Serial biopsies at baseline, C1D1, C1D15, and surgery were analyzed for Ki67, gene expression and mutation profiles. The primary endpoint was Complete Cell Cycle Arrest (CCCA: central Ki67?2.7%).
Fifty patients enrolled. The CCCA rate was significantly higher after adding palbociclib to anastrozole (C1D15 87% vs C1D1 26%, p<0.001). Palbociclib enhanced cell cycle control over anastrozole monotherapy regardless of luminal subtype (A vs B) and PIK3CA status with activity observed across a broad range of clinicopathological and mutation profiles. Ki67 recovery at surgery following palbociclib washout was suppressed by cycle 5 palbociclib. Resistance was associated with non-luminal subtypes and persistent E2F-target gene expression.
Palbociclib is an active anti-proliferative agent for early-stage breast cancer resistant to anastrozole, however, prolonged administration may be necessary to maintain its effect.