CDK 4/6 Inhibitors in Breast Cancer: Current Controversies and Future Directions

Laura M. Spring, Seth A. Wander, Mark Zangardi, Aditya Bardia
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston

Purpose of review: To describe the clinical role of CDK 4/6 inhibitors in hormone receptor-positive (HR+) metastatic breast cancer (HR+MBC) as well as current controversies and evolving areas of research. Recent fi ndings: Palbociclib, ribociclib, and abemaciclib are each approved in combination with an aromatase inhibitor or fulvestrant for HR+MBC. Abemaciclib is also approved as monotherapy for pre-treated patients. Key questions in the fi eld include whether all patients with HR+MBC should receive a CDK 4/6 inhibitor up front versus later line, impact on overall survival, role of continued CDK 4/6 blockade, mechanism of clinical resistance, and treatment sequencing. Summary: The development of CDK 4/6 inhibitors has changed the therapeutic management of HR+MBC. Additional research is needed to determine optimal treatment sequencing, understand mechanisms governing resistance, and develop novel therapeutic strategies to circumvent or overcome clinical resistance and further improve the outcomes of patients with MBC.

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