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BioVica’s DiviTum biomarker assay has been found to be effective when evaluating palbociclib treatment outcomes in women with metastatic breast cancer.

New research data shows that DiviTum can be used to evaluate the treatment efficacy of a CDK 4/6 inhibitor in metastatic breast cancer. CDK 4/6 inhibitors suppress cell growth and division and are commonly given alongside endocrine therapy.

The results have been published in Clinical Cancer Research.

Evaluating the effects of treatment over time typically involves imaging and biopsies, but clinicians need to wait three or four months for changes in tumour size to be measurable to tell if the treatment is working or not. The new research indicates that, through the Divitum assay, this wait time could be cut down to just one month.

The DiviTum researchers found that patients with decreasing levels of the Thymidine kinase 1 (TK1) biomarker after one month of CDK 4/6 therapy had significantly better outcomes than patients with increasing levels.

The study evaluated blood samples from 45 women with metastatic breast cancer treated with palbociclib, with or without endocrine therapy. Those with decreasing biomarker levels were found to have the same TK1 readings after nine months of treatment as those with increasing levels at just over three.

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DiviTum could thus be used in practice to assess an individual patient’s treatment response to CDK 4/6 at an earlier stage. This means patients who respond poorly to treatment would spend less time receiving a therapy that doesn’t work for them.

Prato Hospital oncologist Dr Luca Malorni said: “The results need confirmation in larger, ongoing studies, and are encouraging in terms of clinical value. Via this blood test we can potentially identify which patients will not have a benefit from these new treatments and should ideally be selected for alternative regimens.”

DiviTum has now been evaluated in over ten clinical studies involving more than 1,700 breast cancer patients.