Lilly's breast cancer drug combination succeeds key study

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[March 20, 2017] (Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co said a combination of its experimental breast cancer drug and another widely used treatment slowed disease progression in a key study in patients who had relapsed or did not derive enough benefit from anti-estrogen therapy.

Lilly's drug, abemaciclib, is from the same new class of breast cancer treatments as Pfizer Inc's recently approved drug, Ibrance.

In August, Lilly elected to continue the late-stage study, even though an interim look at the data suggested the combination treatment was not delaying disease progression.

The trial compared combined use of Lilly's abemaciclib and anti-estrogen therapy fulvestrant with fulvestrant alone, the drugmaker said on Monday.

Lilly is evaluating abemaciclib as a single agent in breast cancer patients who have not derived enough benefit from prior treatments, and multiple other studies are testing abemaciclib with other drugs.

Abemaciclib, which was granted U.S. Food and Drug Administration breakthrough therapy status for breast cancer in 2015, is also being tested for use in lung cancer.

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Lilly said it planned to submit an application to market abemaciclib as a monotherapy in the second quarter, and as a combination therapy in the third quarter.

(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Martina D'Couto)

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