Major Leap in Breast Cancer Care: HSE Approves New Treatment for High-Risk Patients

Written by Henrik Rothen

May.13 - 2024 11:10 AM CET

Foto: Wiki Commons
Foto: Wiki Commons
A breakthrough in breast cancer treatment promises to transform outcomes for high-risk patients in Ireland.

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Breast cancer treatment in Ireland is poised for a transformative change starting June 1st, with the Health Service Executive's approval of a new drug, abemaciclib, designed to significantly reduce the recurrence of cancer in high-risk patients.

According to, The move, hailed as a "significant milestone" by leading oncologists, introduces a potent tool against the most common type of breast cancer, driven by estrogen.

Abemaciclib, which comes in tablet form, is approved for patients with high-risk early breast cancer and will be administered over a two-year period.

The drug targets mechanisms known to resist anti-hormone therapies, effectively enhancing these treatments and reducing the risk of cancer returning by an impressive 30%.

A Long-Awaited Approval

The excitement among the medical community is palpable. Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Professor Janice Walshe from St Vincent's University Hospital, called the approval "exciting" and a long-awaited development.

"It was approved by the European Medicines Agency two years ago and the UK has had it for over a year," noted Prof Walshe, emphasizing the anticipation and need for this treatment in Ireland.

The approval of abemaciclib is seen not only as a win for patients but also for the wider health system. Prof Walshe articulated the dual benefits, pointing out,

"It's going to reduce the risk of disease relapse which in itself makes sense for the taxpayer." She highlighted the economic impact of treating incurable cancer, which often requires prolonged and expensive medication regimens.

Selective Yet Significant Impact

While the drug promises substantial benefits, it's not suitable for everyone. It's most effective in about 70% of breast cancer cases in Ireland, which are estrogen-driven.

Despite this limitation, the potential for it to improve outcomes for a large segment of patients is significant, with deeper benefits observed compared to standard care therapy.

The introduction of abemaciclib marks a critical step forward in cancer care, potentially setting a new standard in treatment efficacy and efficiency, benefiting patients and the healthcare system alike.

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