Abemaciclib is a selective CDK4 & 6 inhibitor approved on a continuous dosing schedule for HR+, HER2- advanced breast cancer (ABC) as monotherapy (MONARCH 1) and in combination with endocrine therapy (ET). A previous Phase 1b (NCT01394016) cohort of HR+ ABC patients (pts) demonstrated efficacy of abemaciclib monotherapy (150mg and 200mg Q12H starting dose); given the small sample size and nonrandomized design the impact of the starting dose was unclear. nextMONARCH 1 (NCT02747004) evaluated abemaciclib in 2 monotherapy arms, in a randomized setting. Abemaciclib has been associated with dose-dependent early onset diarrhea that is well managed with antidiarrheal therapy. nextMONARCH 1 also explored the 200mg Q12H abemaciclib dose in combination with prophylactic loperamide to reduce incidence/severity of diarrhea and dose adjustments. A third arm evaluated abemaciclib + tamoxifen as a strategy to overcome endocrine resistance.


nextMONARCH 1 is a multicenter, randomized, open-label, Phase 2 study of abemaciclib or abemaciclib + tamoxifen in women with HR+, HER2- ABC who have progressed on or after prior ET and previously received chemotherapy. Pts were stratified by presence of liver metastases and prior use of tamoxifen in the advanced setting. Randomization was 1:1:1 to abemaciclib 150mg Q12H + daily tamoxifen 20mg (Arm A) or abemaciclib 150mg Q12H (Arm B); or abemaciclib 200mg Q12H + prophylactic loperamide (Arm C). Key eligibilities were ≥2 chemotherapy regimens (1-2 administered in metastatic setting), measurable disease and no prior treatment with CDK4 & 6 inhibitors. Primary objective was progression free survival (PFS). Key secondary objectives included objective response rate (ORR), dclinical benefit rate (CBR), and safety. PFS analysis tested superiority of Arm A to C at ∼110 events across the 2 arms assuming a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.667 to achieve ∼80% power. Arm B would be considered non-inferior to Arm C if the observed PFS HR is <1.2.


234 pts were randomized to Arms A (n=78), B (n=79) and C (n=77). 166 PFS events have been observed (A: 57; B: 54; C: 55). Median PFS was 9.1 months in Arm A, 6.5 in Arm B and 7.4 in Arm C (A vs C: HR=.815, 95% CI, .556-1.193, p=.293; B vs C: HR=1.045, 95% CI, .711-1.535 p=.811). Investigator-assessed ORR was 34.6%, 24.1% and 32.5% (confirmed ORR: 25.6%, 19.0%, 28.6%) and CBR was 61.5%, 49.4% and 51.9% in Arms A, B and C, respectively. Prophylactic loperamide reduced the incidence and severity of diarrhea (C: 62.3%, Gr 3: 7.8%) compared to MONARCH 1 (90.2%, Gr 3: 19.7%, Dickler et al. 2017) resulting in similar rates of diarrhea with 150mg abemaciclib without prophylaxis (A: 53.8%, Gr 3: 1.3%; B: 67.1%, Gr 3: 3.8%). The adverse event profile across arms was generally consistent with other breast studies of abemaciclib.


nextMONARCH 1 confirmed single-agent activity of abemaciclib in heavily pretreated pts with HR+, HER2- ABC. Efficacy of abemaciclib monotherapy at 150mg was similar to 200mg. Combining tamoxifen with abemaciclib did not demonstrate a statistically significant improvement in PFS compared to abemaciclib monotherapy. Addition of prophylactic loperamide to abemaciclib 200mg resulted in diarrhea similar to 150mg without prophylaxis.

Citation Format: Hamilton E, Cortes J, Dieras V, Ozyilkan O, Chen S-C, Petrakova K, Manikhas A, Jerusalem G, Hegg R, Lu Y, Bear MM, Johnston EL, Martin M. nextMONARCH 1: Phase 2 study of abemaciclib plus tamoxifen or abemaciclib alone in HR+, HER2- advanced breast cancer [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; 2018 Dec 4-8; San Antonio, TX. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2019;79(4 Suppl):Abstract nr PD1-11.