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Rapid Breast Cancer Disease Progression Following Cyclin Dependent Kinase 4 and 6 Inhibitor Discontinuation

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Background: CDK 4 and 6 inhibitors (CDK4/6i), which arrest unregulated cancer cell proliferation, show clinical efficacy in breast cancer. Unexpectedly, a patient treated on a CDK4/6i-based trial, as first-line therapy in metastatic breast cancer, developed rapid disease progression following discontinuation of study drug while receiving standard second-line therapy off trial. We thus sought to expand this observation within a population of patients treated similarly at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Methods: Using an IRB-approved protocol, 4 patients previously enrolled on CDK4/6i trials were analyzed for outcomes after discontinuing study drug. These patients were treated on a randomized trial of first-line endocrine therapy +/- a CDK4/6i. Rapid disease progression was defined as progression occurring within 4 months of CDK4/6i discontinuation. Results: In total, 4 patients developed rapid disease progression and died; 2 of whom died within 6 months of CDK4/6i discontinuation. Conclusion: This case series suggests a potential for rapid disease progression following CDK4/6i discontinuation. However, the clinical course following progression must be validated in large CDK4/6i clinical trials and standard-of-care cohorts. If confirmed, such observations may alter the algorithm for subsequent therapy in patients with disease progression on CDK4/6i. Nevertheless, the need remains to define a mechanistic basis for this rapid progression and formulate alternative therapeutic strategies.

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