Dr. Tolaney on Abemaciclib Plus Pembrolizumab for HR+, HER2- Breast Cancer

Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH
Published: Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018



Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH, instructor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, attending physician of medical oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses the phase Ib results of abemaciclib (Verzenio) plus pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer. She presented updated data of the MONARCH 1 trial at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting.

Tolaney says the rationale behind this study was that preclinical work done by investigators suggested that a CDK4/6 inhibitor could augment the immune response during treatment. Previous data of the MONARCH 1 trial tested abemaciclib alone for patients who were previously treated with chemotherapy. The second phase of the study used a similar patient population.

In patients who had previously received up to 2 lines of chemotherapy in the metastatic setting, abemaciclib plus pembrolizumab led to a nearly 30% overall response rate compared with less than 10% with abemaciclib monotherapy for the same time point.

Tolaney mentions the notion that HR-positive tumors are less immunogenic, so it is “exciting” for oncologists to see a signal for activity.


Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH, instructor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, attending physician of medical oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses the phase Ib results of abemaciclib (Verzenio) plus pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer. She presented updated data of the MONARCH 1 trial at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting.

Tolaney says the rationale behind this study was that preclinical work done by investigators suggested that a CDK4/6 inhibitor could augment the immune response during treatment. Previous data of the MONARCH 1 trial tested abemaciclib alone for patients who were previously treated with chemotherapy. The second phase of the study used a similar patient population.

In patients who had previously received up to 2 lines of chemotherapy in the metastatic setting, abemaciclib plus pembrolizumab led to a nearly 30% overall response rate compared with less than 10% with abemaciclib monotherapy for the same time point.

Tolaney mentions the notion that HR-positive tumors are less immunogenic, so it is “exciting” for oncologists to see a signal for activity.



View Conference Coverage
Online CME Activities
TitleExpiration DateCME Credits
Clinical Interchange™: Translating Research to Inform Changing Paradigms: Assessment of Emerging Immuno-Oncology Strategies and Combinations across Lung, Head and Neck, and Bladder CancersOct 31, 20182.0
Community Practice Connections: Oncology Best Practice™ Targeting Cell Cycle Progression: The Latest Advances on CDK4/6 Inhibition in Metastatic Breast CancerOct 31, 20181.0
Publication Bottom Border
Border Publication
x