MONARCH 3 final PFS: a randomized study of abemaciclib as initial therapy for advanced breast cancer

Stephen Johnston, Miguel Martin, Angelo Di Leo, Seock Ah Im, Ahmad Awada, Tammy Forrester, Martin Frenzel, Molly C. Hardebeck, Joanne Cox, Susana Barriga, Masakazu Toi, Hiroji Iwata, Matthew P. Goetz

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112 Scopus citations


At the MONARCH 3 interim analysis, abemaciclib plus a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor (AI) significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS) and objective response rate (ORR) with a tolerable safety profile as initial treatment for hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2−) advanced breast cancer (ABC). MONARCH 3 is a randomized, phase III, double-blind study of abemaciclib/placebo (150 mg twice daily, continuous) plus nonsteroidal AI (1 mg anastrozole or 2.5 mg letrozole, daily). A total of 493 postmenopausal women with HR+, HER2− ABC with no prior systemic therapy in this setting were enrolled. The primary endpoint was investigator-assessed PFS (final analysis after 240 events); other endpoints included response and safety evaluations. Here we analyze the final PFS data and update secondary endpoints. The abemaciclib arm had a significantly longer median PFS than the placebo arm (28.18 versus 14.76 months; hazard ratio [95% confidence interval], 0.540 [0.418–0.698]; p =.000002). The ORR was 61.0% in the abemaciclib arm versus 45.5% in the placebo arm (measurable disease, p =.003). The median duration of response was longer in the abemaciclib arm (27.39 months) compared to the placebo arm (17.46 months). The safety profile was consistent with previous reports. The most frequent grade ≥ 3 adverse events in the abemaciclib versus placebo arms were neutropenia (23.9% versus 1.2%), diarrhea (9.5% versus 1.2%), and leukopenia (8.6% versus 0.6%). Abemaciclib plus a nonsteroidal AI was an effective initial treatment with an acceptable safety profile for HR+, HER2− ABC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
Journalnpj Breast Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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