The development of breast cancer is known to be in the breast tissue.

Elizabeth Knox

Title : New NHS treatments: a real breakthrough for breast cancer?

BIOS 267 August 10, 2018


The development of breast cancer is known to be in the breast tissue.

There signs of someone having breast cancer include; lump in the breast, breast change in shape, dimpling of the skin, fluid coming from the nipple, or even red or scaly patch of skin.

The cells which are exposed to development of cancer are located along the lining of milk ducts and lobules that supply ducts with milk.

Real breakthrough

The national institute for health Care Excellence (NICE) have approved two new drugs for breast cancer treatment.

The approved drugs are palbociclib and ribociclib which are now available on the NHS.

So what exactly are these dugs? Are they a breakthrough as it is being deemed?

Real breakthrough

The two drugs have been included in the evolving personalised medicine sector with a major target of hormone receptor (HR) positive, HER2 receptor negative metastatic breast cancer (Olson and James , 2013).

The two drugs belong to a group of anti-cancer treatments known as CDK4/6.

These drugs are known to prevent essential cell division proteins, cyclin-dependent kinases from functioning (Aronowitz, 2014).

Real breakthrough cont.;

The cell cycle is made of up to four stages which eventually result to DNA replication and new cell formation.

There are enzymes called the CDKs which are found in all stages of the cycle (Aronowitz, 2014).

This enzymes control the signalling pathways at various checkpoints during replication.

In normal cell CDKs are tightly regulated.

Diagram representation of breast cancer


The thousands of women with untreatable breast cancer can now access the two drugs which have been approved by NHS for use.

The two drugs have proved to create a delay in the need for chemotherapy (Gage, Wattendorf, & Henry, 2012).

This is achieved by slowing the progression of advanced cancer by at least 10 months.


The institute of cancer research (ICR) in London has described the drug as a great breakthrough to treatment process.

Palbociclib has however been rejected due to its cost and the clinical effectiveness associated- until an agreement was made to make manufacturers lower its price (Gage, Wattendorf, & Henry, 2012).

Patients diagnosed with this cancer type after it had spread to other parts are yet eligible for Palbociclib.


The drug should be adapted because statistics show there is an increase in the probability of preventing the development of cancer cells.

The drugs should be made available to women in which cancer spreads before clinical diagnosis.

The drugs are associated with reduction of the number of patients undergoing chemotherapy.


Clinical trials of these drugs began over 20 years which gives a culmination of CDK development.

These drugs provide a big opportunity for treatment of breast cancer.

However research should be conducted to identify the group of patients best suited by the drugs.

Over the years the breast cancer mortality rate has been decreasing.


Aronowitz, Robert A. (2014). Unnatural history: breast cancer and American society. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 22–24. ISBN 0-521-82249-1.

Gage M, Wattendorf D, Henry LR (2012). “Translational advances regarding hereditary breast cancer syndromes”. Journal of surgical oncology.

Olson, James Stuart (2013). Bathsheba’s breast: women, cancer & history. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 9–13. ISBN 0-8018-6936-6