Treatment of Luminal Metastatic Breast Cancer beyond CDK4/6 Inhibition: Is There a Standard of Care in Clinical Practice?

Background: CDK4/6 inhibitors have become the standard for first-line treatment of metastatic luminal breast cancer based on consistent data from several phase 3 trials demonstrating clinically meaningful improvement of progression-free as well as overall survival. In addition, they are about to become a part of adjuvant treatment for patients with high-risk luminal disease based on positive results from the first randomized phase 3 trial on abemaciclib. Nevertheless, the majority of patients with advanced or metastatic luminal breast cancer and prospectively a relevant proportion of patients treated in the adjuvant setting will eventually develop resistance to this endocrine based combination within 12-36 months, depending on the line of treatment.

Conclusion: Potential subsequent therapies include PI3K inhibitors, mTOR inhibitors, endocrine monotherapy, PARP inhibitors, and chemotherapy. However, these therapies have mainly been developed in the pre-CDK4/6 inhibitor era and little is known about potential cross-resistance. The concept of continuing CDK4/6 inhibition beyond progression is supported by some preclinical data, but to date there is very limited clinical evidence to support this strategy. Therefore, treatment of metastatic luminal breast cancer after progression on CDK4/6 inhibitors remains a challenge.

Key messages: Here we review current evidence from pro- and retrospective studies and give an outlook on future developments with respect to novel therapeutic agents, including oral SERD and AKT inhibitors, which have the potential to change the therapeutic landscape in the future. Furthermore, clinical treatment algorithms and current research will also be discussed.

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