Palbociclib, or Ibrance

Palbociclib, or Ibrance

This patient-friendly article is about anti-cancer drug, Palbociclib (trade name Ibrance) approved by the FDA in 2015 for the use of treating metastatic breast cancer; produced by Pfizer, it is a kinase inhibitor used on patients with Hormonally positive (HR+ve), HER2-ve advanced breast cancer, alongside an Aromatase Inhibitor (AI) or Fulvestrant (Faslodex).

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Palbociclib blocks CDK4 and CDK6 proteins, which are important proteins responsible for the growth of cancer cells. It is used in two ways - in combination with an aromatase inhibitor such as Anastrozole or Letrozole, as the first treatment in postmenopausal women or men; or Ibrance is used in combination with Fulvestrant (Faslodex) for women or men who have had hormonal therapy before and their disease has progressed. 

The recommended dosage of Palbociclib in combination with an aromatase inhibitor or fulvestrant is 125 mg (orally) once a day for 21 days and then 7 days off. 

Palbociclib has little or no effect against the estrogen part of the equation, hence the need for and estrogen blocker. This means it can be taken with a complementary anti-oestrogen protocol including diet, Indole 3 carbinol, melatonin, and myomin. Indeed, the research is clear that anti-oestrogen compounds increase survival times when used with Ibrance. Fulvestrant is a SERD - a Selective Estrogen Receptor Degrader - it binds to the oestrogen receptors in your body and changes their format causing natural body processes to destroy the receptor sites.

Common side effects of Ibrance include nausea, diarrhea, easy bruising, vomiting, infections, increased in body temperature, anaemia and experience of hair loss. 

Fulvestrant itself has side-effects - it can cause white cell loss (neutropenia), nerve damage, nausea, vomiting, headaches, muscle and bone pain. It is given by slow injection in the buttocks - this can take 2 minutes to complete.


  • Neutropenia (low concentration of a certain type of white blood cells), which can cause serious infection and even lead to death.
  • Used during pregnancy can cause embryo-fetal toxicity
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy); patients experiencing early warning signs such as tingling might look at our article on Acetyl-L-Carnitine.

Go to: 10 ways to improve your chemotherapy success and reduce side-effects

Other articles that you may find interesting are:

  1. A diet for Chemotherapy
  2. Immunotherapy overview
  3. A to Z Guide to Complementary Therapies

Go to: Return to the CANCERactive drug list


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