Kisqali is the first and only CDK4/6 inhibitor to demonstrate a consistent, clinically meaningful benefit across a broad population of patients with HR+/HER2- early breast cancer, regardless of disease stage, menopausal or nodal status1
Results were also consistent across all secondary endpoints, including distant disease-free survival and recurrence-free survival, with a trend for improved overall survival*1
The safety profile of Kisqali was favorable at 400 mg with low rates of symptomatic adverse events and limited treatment modifications when administered up to three years1
Collectively, NATALEE results have the potential to more-than-double the number of patients who could benefit from treatment with a CDK4/6 inhibitor in the adjuvant setting2
Basel, June 2, 2023 — Novartis today presents positive primary endpoint data from the pivotal Phase III NATALEE trial at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. Data showed that Kisqali® (ribociclib) plus endocrine therapy (ET), compared to ET alone, lowered the risk of cancer recurrence by 25.2% in patients with stage II and III hormone receptor-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HR+/HER2-) early breast cancer (HR=0.748; 95% CI: 0.618, 0.906; p=0.0014) along with a consistent, clinically meaningful invasive disease-free survival (iDFS) benefit across key pre-specified subgroups (see table below)1.
Kisqali iDFS benefit across key pre-specified subgroups1:
0.618, 0.906 (p=0.0014)
AJCC Tumor Stage II
AJCC Tumor Stage III
Pre-menopausal women and men
Kisqali data across all secondary efficacy endpoints was also consistent, including distant disease-free survival (DDFS) (26% risk reduction) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) (28% risk reduction), with a trend for improvement in overall survival (OS) (HR=0.759; 95% CI: 0.539, 1.068)*1.
The safety profile of Kisqali at 400 mg was favorable with low rates of symptomatic adverse events (AEs) and limited need for dose modifications when administered up to three years1. The most frequently reported AEs of special interest (grade 3 or higher) were neutropenia (43.8%) and liver-related AEs (e.g. elevated transaminases) (8.3%)1. Grade 3 or higher QT interval prolongation and diarrhea were low for Kisqali at 1.0% and 0.6%, respectively1.
“These landmark results will fundamentally change how we treat patients with stage II and III HR+/HER2- early breast cancer who are in need of new, well-tolerated options that prevent their cancer from coming back,” said Dennis J. Slamon, M.D., Director of Clinical/Translational Research, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and Chairman and Executive Director of Translational Research In Oncology (TRIO) and NATALEE trial lead investigator. “Addressing this unmet need across such a broad patient population could help streamline treatment decisions for healthcare providers and keep many more at-risk patients cancer-free without disrupting their daily lives.”
“Patients diagnosed with HR+/HER2- early breast cancer remain at risk of cancer recurrence, given that one-third of patients diagnosed with stage II and more than half of those diagnosed with stage III will unfortunately experience a return of their cancer,” said Shreeram Aradhye, M.D., President, Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis. “The compelling data from NATALEE highlight the potential of Kisqali to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence in this at-risk population, including node-negative patients, while maintaining a favorable safety profile. These potentially practice-changing results reinforce the unique and well-established profile of Kisqali as a proven treatment in HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer.”
"After an early breast cancer diagnosis, patients live with a persistent and lifelong worry that their cancer will return,” said Fran Visco, President, National Breast Cancer Coalition, and member of the NATALEE Steering Committee. “The National Breast Cancer Coalition partners with industry and scientists to help find treatments that will make certain that does not happen. Educated patient advocate participation in all phases of research, especially in designing and implementing clinical trials, is critical to making certain patients have meaningful options, and we are grateful that Novartis welcomed our collaboration and participation in all aspects of the NATALEE trial."
Novartis plans to submit these Phase III data to regulatory authorities in the US and Europe before end of year.
NATALEE is a global Phase III multi-center, randomized, open-label trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Kisqali with ET as adjuvant treatment versus ET alone in patients with HR+/HER2- EBC, being conducted in collaboration with TRIO1. The adjuvant ET in both treatment arms was a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor (NSAI; anastrozole or letrozole) and goserelin if applicable1. The primary endpoint of NATALEE is iDFS as defined by the Standardized Definitions for Efficacy End Points (STEEP) criteria1. A total of 5,101 adult patients with HR+/HER2- EBC across 20 countries were randomized in the trial1.
Results showed Kisqali plus ET, compared to ET alone, lowered the risk of cancer recurrence by 25.2% (HR=0.748; 95% CI: 0.618, 0.906; p=0.0014), along with consistent clinically meaningful iDFS benefit across key pre-specified subgroups: AJCC Tumor Stage II (HR=0.761; 95% CI: 0.525, 1.103), AJCC Tumor Stage III (HR=0.740; 95% CI: 0.592, 0.925), node-negative disease (HR=0.630; 95% CI: 0.341, 1.165), node-positive disease (HR=0.771; 95% CI: 0.630, 0.944), pre-menopausal women and men (HR=0.722; 95% CI: 0.530, 0.983), post-menopausal women (HR=0.781; 95% CI: 0.613, 0.997)1. Kisqali data across all secondary efficacy endpoints was also consistent, including DDFS (26% risk reduction) and RFS (28% risk reduction), with a trend for improvement in OS (HR=0.759; 95% CI: 0.539, 1.068)*1.
Median study duration of follow up was 34 months (range 21-48 months) with clinical benefits observed after approximately two years1. NATALEE explored a lower starting dose (400 mg) of Kisqali than the dose approved for treatment in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) (600 mg) with the goal to minimize disruptions to patient quality of life without compromising efficacy. The safety profile of Kisqali at 400 mg was favorable with low rates of symptomatic AEs and limited need for dose modifications when administered up to three years1. The most frequently reported AEs of special interest (grade 3 or higher) were neutropenia (43.8%) and liver-related AEs (e.g. elevated transaminases) (8.3%)1. Grade 3 or higher QT interval prolongation and diarrhea were low for Kisqali at 1.0% and 0.6%, respectively1.
*Results based on pre-specified interim analysis for OS at time of primary iDFS analysis; additional follow up is planned to obtain more mature OS data1.
About Early Breast Cancer
More than 90% of patients diagnosed with breast cancer have EBC3. Despite standard-of-care adjuvant therapy, approximately one-third of those diagnosed with stage II and more than half of those diagnosed with stage III HR+/HER2- EBC experience cancer recurrence4,5. The risk of recurrence continues over decades with more than half of breast cancer recurrences occurring five or more years after diagnosis4,6. For many of these patients, there are currently no targeted therapeutic options outside of the standard chemotherapy and ET7.
About Kisqali® (ribociclib)
Kisqali has consistently demonstrated OS benefit while preserving or improving quality of life across three Phase III trials in MBC8-19. Updates to the NCCN Guidelines® for breast cancer, released in January 2023, recommend ribociclib (Kisqali) as the only Category 1 preferred CDK4/6 inhibitor for first-line treatment of patients with HR+/HER2- MBC when combined with an aromatase inhibitor (AI)20. Additionally, Kisqali has the highest rating of any CDK4/6 inhibitor on the ESMO Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale, achieving a score of five out of five for first-line pre-menopausal patients with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer21. Further, Kisqali in combination with either letrozole or fulvestrant has uniquely, among other CDK4/6 inhibitors, received a score of four out of five for post-menopausal patients with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer treated in the first line22.
Kisqali has been approved in 99 countries worldwide, including by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Commission. In the U.S., Kisqali is approved for the treatment of adult patients with HR+/HER2- advanced or MBC in combination with an AI as initial ET or fulvestrant as initial ET or following disease progression on ET in post-menopausal women or in men. In the EU, Kisqali is approved for the treatment of women with HR+/HER2- advanced or MBC in combination with either an AI or fulvestrant as initial ET or following disease progression. In pre- or peri-menopausal women, the ET should be combined with a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist19.
Novartis is committed to continuing to study Kisqali in breast cancer. Novartis is collaborating with SOLTI, which is leading the HARMONIA study to test whether Kisqali changes tumor biology to enable a better response to ET compared to Ibrance®** (palbociclib) for patients with HR+/HER2-, HER2-enriched subtype23 MBC, and with the Akershus University Hospital in Norway on the NEOLETRIB trial, a neoadjuvant Phase II trial studying the effects of Kisqali in HR+/HER2- EBC to discover the potentially unique underlying mechanism of action24.
Kisqali was developed by the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) under a research collaboration with Astex Pharmaceuticals.
Please see full Prescribing Information for Kisqali, available at www.Kisqali.com
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by words such as “potential,” “can,” “will,” “plan,” “may,” “could,” “would,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “seek,” “look forward,” “believe,” “committed,” “investigational,” “pipeline,” “launch,” or similar terms, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential marketing approvals, new indications or labeling for the investigational or approved products described in this press release, or regarding potential future revenues from such products. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on our current beliefs and expectations regarding future events, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. There can be no guarantee that the investigational or approved products described in this press release will be submitted or approved for sale or for any additional indications or labeling in any market, or at any particular time. Nor can there be any guarantee that such products will be commercially successful in the future. In particular, our expectations regarding such products could be affected by, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including clinical trial results and additional analysis of existing clinical data; regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; global trends toward health care cost containment, including government, payor and general public pricing and reimbursement pressures and requirements for increased pricing transparency; our ability to obtain or maintain proprietary intellectual property protection; the particular prescribing preferences of physicians and patients; general political, economic and business conditions, including the effects of and efforts to mitigate pandemic diseases such as COVID-19; safety, quality, data integrity or manufacturing issues; potential or actual data security and data privacy breaches, or disruptions of our information technology systems, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG’s current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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Slamon D, Stroyakovskiy D, Yardley D, et al. Ribociclib and endocrine therapy as adjuvant treatment in patients with HR+/HER2− early breast cancer: primary results from the Phase III NATALEE trial. Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, June 2, 2023. Chicago, USA.
Data on File. Novartis.
Iqbal J, Ginsburg O, Rochon PA, Sun P, Narod SA. Differences in breast cancer stage at diagnosis and cancer-specific survival by race and ethnicity in the United States [published correction appears in JAMA. 2015 Jun 9;313(22):2287]. JAMA. 2015;313(2):165-173. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.17322
Pan H, Gray R, Braybrooke J, et al; EBCTCG. 20-year risks of breast-cancer recurrence after stopping endocrine therapy at 5 years. N Engl J Med. 2017;377(19):1836-1846. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1701830
Pan H, Gray R, Braybrooke J, et al; EBCTCG. 20-year risks of breast-cancer recurrence after stopping endocrine therapy at 5 years. N Engl J Med. 2017;377(19):1836-1846;(suppl). doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1701830
Gomis R, Gawrzak S. Tumor cell dormancy. Mol Oncol. 2017;11(1):62-78.
American Cancer Society. Treatment of breast cancer stages I-III. Revised April 12, 2022. Accessed on September 15, 2022.https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/treatment/treatment-of-breast-cancer-by-stage/treatment-of-breast-cancer-stages-i-iii.html
Yardley DA, Yap YS, et al. Pooled exploratory analysis of survival in patients (pts) with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer (ABC) and visceral metastases (mets) treated with ribociclib (RIB) + endocrine therapy (ET) in the MONALEESA (ML) trials. Poster presented at the European Society of Medical Oncology Congress. September 9-13, 2022. Paris, France.
Neven P, Fasching PA, et al. Updated overall survival (OS) results from the first-line (1L) population in the Phase III MONALEESA-3 trial of postmenopausal patients with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer (ABC) treated with ribociclib (RIB) + fulvestrant (FUL). Mini oral presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology Breast Cancer Congress. May 4, 2022. Paris, France.
Hortobagyi GN, Stemmer SM, Burris HA, et al. Overall Survival with Ribociclib plus Letrozole in Advanced Breast Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. 2022;386(10):942-950. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2114663
Hortobagyi, et al. Overall survival (OS) results from the phase III MONALEESA (ML)-2 trial of postmenopausal patients with hormone receptor positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HR+/HER2−) advanced breast cancer (ABC) treated with endocrine therapy (ET) ± ribociclib. Proffered paper presented at the European Society of Medical Oncology Congress, September 16-21, 2021. Lugano, Switzerland.
Im S-A, Lu Y-S, Bardia A, et al. Overall survival with ribociclib plus endocrine therapy in breast cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. 2019;381(4):307-316. doi:10.1056/nejmoa1903765
Slamon DJ, Neven P, Chia S, et al. Overall Survival with Ribociclib plus Fulvestrant in Advanced Breast Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. 2020;382(6):514-524. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1911149
Slamon, DJ, Neven P, Chia S, et al. Overall survival (OS) results of the Phase III MONALEESA-3 trial of postmenopausal patients (pts) with hormone receptor–positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor 2–negative (HER2−) advanced breast cancer (ABC) treated with fulvestrant (FUL) ± ribociclib (RIB). Presented at the European Society of Medical Oncology Congress, September 29, 2019, Barcelona, Spain.
Slamon D, Neven P, Chia S, et al. Updated overall survival (OS) results from the Phase III MONALEESA-3 trial of postmenopausal patients (pts) with HR+/HER2− advanced breast cancer (ABC) treated with fulvestrant (FUL) ± ribociclib (RIB. Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, June 5, 2021. Chicago, USA.
Tripathy D, Im S-A, Colleoni M, et al. Updated overall survival (OS) results from the phase III MONALEESA-7 trial of pre- or perimenopausal patients with HR+/HER2− advanced breast cancer (ABC) treated with endocrine therapy (ET) ± ribociclib. Presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, December 9, 2020. Texas, USA.
Yardley, D, Nusch A, Yap YS, et al. Overall survival (OS) in patients (pts) with advanced breast cancer (ABC) with visceral metastases (mets), including those with liver mets, treated with ribociclib (RIB) plus endocrine therapy (ET) in the MONALEESA (ML) -3 and -7 trials. Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. June 2020. Chicago, USA.
O’Shaughnessy J, Stemmer SM, Burris HA, et al. Overall survival subgroup analysis by metastatic site from the Phase III MONALEESA-2 study of first-line ribociclib + letrozole in postmenopausal patients with HR+/HER2− advanced breast cancer. Presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, December 7-10, 2021. Texas, USA.
Kisqali (ribociclib) Prescribing Information.
NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) - Breast Cancer. NCCN Guidelines. Published March 2023. Accessed May 31, 2023. https://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/breast.pdf.
European Society for Medical Oncology – Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale Scorecard. Published April 20, 2020. Updated August 21, 2020. Accessed May 31, 2023. https://www.esmo.org/guidelines/esmo-mcbs/esmo-mcbs-scorecards/scorecard-158-1.
European Society for Medical Oncology – Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale Scorecard. Published March 29, 2022. Accessed May 31, 2023. https://www.esmo.org/guidelines/esmo-mcbs/esmo-mcbs-scorecards/scorecard-9-1.
Ribociclib vs. palbociclib in patients with advanced breast cancer within the HER2-enriched intrinsic subtype (HARMONIA). Identifier NCT05207709. Revised April 4, 2022. Accessed May 31, 2023. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05207709
Novartis and Vestre Viken Hospital Trust (2022, April 1 – 2024, December 1). Neoadjuvant Treatment of Locally-advanced Breast Cancer Patients With Ribociclib and Letrozole (NEOLETRIB). Identifier NCT05163106. Accessed May 31, 2023. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05163106
**Ibrance® is a registered trademark of Pfizer, Inc.
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