Metastatic Breast Cancer
Being newly diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) can be overwhelming, but learning about the disease and how to talk to your doctor about your first treatment can help.
What is metastatic breast cancer?
Metastatic breast cancer (MBC), also known as advanced or stage IV, is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body. The common places for breast cancer to spread are the bones, lungs, liver, and brain.
Facts about metastatic breast cancer
20% to 30% of people diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer will develop metastatic breast cancer
Metastatic breast cancer can occur any number of years after an initial diagnosis of early breast cancer, even after treatment and regular follow-up visits with your doctor
An estimated 155,000 Americans are currently living with metastatic breast cancer
People of all ages, both men and women, can be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer
About 6% to 10% of metastatic breast cancer patients are diagnosed with MBC as their first breast cancer diagnosis. This is called de novo metastatic breast cancer
There’s more than one type of metastatic breast cancer. HR+, HER2– is the most common subtype of metastatic breast cancer, representing roughly 60% of all cases
Treatment options for HR+, HER2– metastatic breast cancer
When you're discussing a treatment option for metastatic breast cancer with your doctor, it’s important to know that you have various options, but the decision will depend on several patient and tumor factors, such as HR or HER2 status.
Systemic treatment options
Most metastatic breast cancer is treated with systemic therapy. Systemic therapy travels throughout the bloodstream, reaching cancerous cells throughout the body. These treatments affect both cancerous and normal cells. Sometimes different systemic treatments are combined with each other.
Systemic treatments include the following:
- Hormone treatments
- Targeted treatments, such as Verzenio
Local treatment options
Local treatments such as surgery or radiation may be used to help prevent or treat symptoms of metastatic breast cancer.
Partnering with your doctor
Treatment decisions should be a team effort between you and your doctor. Asking the right questions will help you manage expectations and determine the best course of action for your treatment.
Speak with your doctor to understand the right first treatment option for you
You can ask your doctor
- Can you recommend additional resources that would help educate me about my disease and treatment?
- What are my options for treating my HR+, HER2– metastatic breast cancer?
- How will treatment affect my personal life?
- Is Verzenio right for me?
- How is Verzenio different?
- How is Verzenio taken?
- If Verzenio is right for me, what can I expect during treatment?
- When can I expect to see results with Verzenio?
- What are the potential side effects with Verzenio?
- Do you know of any resources to help with financial support for Verzenio?
Important Facts About Verzenio® (ver-ZEN-ee-oh). It is also known as abemaciclib.
Verzenio is a prescription medicine used to treat certain types of breast cancer known as HR+/HER2– (hormone receptor positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative) breast cancer.
It is a medicine you can take if:
- You have node-positive early breast cancer that has a high risk of coming back as determined by your healthcare provider. Verzenio is given along with hormonal therapy to women and men.
- Or, the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized). If you are postmenopausal, or male, then Verzenio is given with an aromatase inhibitor as initial endocrine-based therapy. If you are a female or male, and the cancer has gotten worse after hormone therapy, then Verzenio is given with fulvestrant. If you are female or male and the cancer has gotten worse after both hormone therapy and chemotherapy, then Verzenio is given by itself.
It is not known if Verzenio is safe and effective in children.
Verzenio may cause serious side effects, including:
Diarrhea is common with Verzenio, may sometimes be severe and may cause dehydration or infection. The most common time to develop diarrhea is during the first month of Verzenio treatment. If you develop diarrhea during treatment with Verzenio, your healthcare provider may tell you to temporarily stop taking it, stop your treatment, or decrease your dose.
If you have any loose stools, start taking an antidiarrheal medicine (such as loperamide), drink more fluids, and tell your healthcare provider right away.
Low white blood cell counts (neutropenia) are common with Verzenio and may cause serious infections that can lead to death. Your healthcare provider should check your white blood cell counts before and during treatment. If you develop low white blood cell counts during treatment with Verzenio, your healthcare provider may tell you to temporarily stop taking it, decrease your dose, or wait before starting your next month of treatment. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have signs and symptoms of low white blood cell counts or infections, such as fever and chills.
Verzenio may cause severe or life-threatening inflammation (swelling) of the lungs during treatment that can lead to death. If you develop lung problems during treatment with Verzenio, your healthcare provider may tell you to temporarily stop taking it, decrease your dose, or stop your treatment. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new or worsening symptoms, including:
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Cough with or without mucus
- Chest pain
Verzenio can cause serious liver problems. Your healthcare provider should do blood tests to check your liver before and during treatment. If you develop liver problems during treatment with Verzenio, your healthcare provider may reduce your dose or stop your treatment. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms of liver problems:
- Feeling very tired
- Pain on the upper right side of your stomach area (abdomen)
- Loss of appetite
- Bleeding or bruising more easily than normal
Verzenio may cause blood clots in your veins, or in the arteries of your lungs. Verzenio may cause serious blood clots that have led to death. If you develop blood clots during treatment with Verzenio, your healthcare provider may tell you to temporarily stop taking it. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following signs and symptoms of a blood clot:
- Pain or swelling in your arms or legs
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Fast breathing
- Fast heart rate
Verzenio can harm your unborn baby. Use effective birth control (contraception) during treatment and for 3 weeks after the last dose of Verzenio and do not breastfeed during treatment with Verzenio and for at least 3 weeks after your last dose. Verzenio may affect the ability of males to father a child.
Common side effects
The most common side effects of Verzenio include:
- Low red blood cell counts (anemia)
- Decreased appetite
- Hair thinning or hair loss (alopecia)
- Abdominal pain
- Low white blood cell counts (leukopenia)
- Low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia)
These are not all the possible side effects of Verzenio.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects. You can report side effects at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Before you use Verzenio, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including:
- If you have fever, chills, or other signs of infection.
- If you have a history of blood clots in your veins.
- Have lung or breathing problems.
- Have liver or kidney problems.
- If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
- About all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take a medicine that contains ketoconazole.
How to take
- Take Verzenio exactly as your healthcare provider tells you.
- Your healthcare provider may change your dose if needed. Do not stop taking Verzenio or change the dose without talking to your healthcare provider.
- Verzenio may be taken with or without food.
- Swallow Verzenio tablets whole. Do not chew, crush, or split the tablets before swallowing. Do not take Verzenio tablets if they are broken, cracked, or damaged.
- Take your doses of Verzenio at about the same time every day.
- If you vomit or miss a dose of Verzenio, take your next dose at your regular time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time to make up for the missed dose.
What to avoid during treatment
- Avoid taking ketoconazole during treatment with Verzenio. Tell your healthcare provider if you take a medicine that contains ketoconazole
- Avoid grapefruit and products that contain grapefruit during treatment with Verzenio. Grapefruit may increase the amount of Verzenio in your blood
For more information, call 1-800-545-5979 or go to verzenio.com.
This summary provides basic information about Verzenio but does not include all information known about this medicine. Read the information that comes with your prescription each time your prescription is filled. This information does not take the place of talking with your healthcare provider. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about Verzenio and how to take it. Your healthcare provider is the best person to help you decide if Verzenio is right for you.
Verzenio® is a registered trademark owned or licensed by Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates.
AL CON BS 14OCT2021