Palbociclib 3-weeks-on/1-week-off, combined with hormonal therapy, is approved for hormone receptor positive (HR+)/HER2-negative (HER2−) advanced/metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Neutropenia is the most frequent adverse event (AE). We aim to determine whether an alternative 5-days-on/2-days-off weekly schedule reduces grade 3 and above neutropenia (G3 + ANC) incidence. In this single-arm phase II trial, patients with HR+/HER2− MBC received palbociclib 125 mg, 5-days-on/2-days-off, plus letrozole or fulvestrant per physician, on a 28-day cycle (C), as their first- or second-line treatment. The primary endpoint was G3 + ANC in the first 29 days (C1). Secondary endpoints included AEs, efficacy, and serum thymidine kinase 1 (sTK1) activity. At data-cutoff, fifty-four patients received a median of 13 cycles (range 2.6–43.5). The rate of G3 + ANC was 21.3% (95% CI: 11.2–36.1%) without G4 in C1, and 40.7% (95% CI: 27.9–54.9%), including 38.9% G3 and 1.8% G4, in all cycles. The clinical benefit rate was 80.4% (95% CI: 66.5–89.7%). The median progression-free survival (mPFS) (95% CI) was 19.75 (12.11–34.89), 33.5 (17.25–not reached [NR]), and 11.96 (10.43–NR) months, in the overall, endocrine sensitive or resistant population, respectively. High sTK1 at baseline, C1 day 15 (C1D15), and C2D1 were independently prognostic for shorter PFS (p = 9.91 × 10−4, 0.001, 0.007, respectively). sTK1 decreased on C1D15 (p = 4.03 × 10−7), indicating target inhibition. Rise in sTK1 predicted progression, with the median lead time of 59.5 (inter-quartile range: −206.25–0) days. Palbociclib, 5-days-on/2-days-off weekly, met its primary endpoint with reduced G3 + ANC, without compromising efficacy. sTK1 is prognostic and shows promise in monitoring the palbociclib response. ClinicalTrials.gov#: NCT3007979.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
Journalnpj Breast Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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