Quality of life with palbociclib plus fulvestrant in previously treated hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer: patient-reported outcomes from the PALOMA-3 trial

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In the PALOMA-3 study, palbociclib plus fulvestrant demonstrated improved progression-free survival compared with fulvestrant plus placebo in hormone receptor-positive, HER2− endocrine-resistant metastatic breast cancer (MBC). This analysis compared patient-reported outcomes (PROs) between the two treatment groups.

Patients and methods

Patients were randomized 2 : 1 to receive palbociclib 125 mg/day orally for 3 weeks followed by 1 week off (n = 347) plus fulvestrant (500 mg i.m. per standard of care) or placebo plus fulvestrant (n = 174). PROs were assessed on day 1 of cycles 1–4 and of every other subsequent cycle starting with cycle 6 using the EORTC QLQ-C30 and its breast cancer module, QLQ-BR23. High scores (range 0–100) could indicate better functioning/quality of life (QoL) or worse symptom severity. Repeated-measures mixed-effect analyses were carried out to compare on-treatment overall scores and changes from baseline between treatment groups while controlling for baseline. Between-group comparisons of time to deterioration in global QoL and pain were made using an unstratified log-rank test and Cox proportional hazards model.


Questionnaire completion rates were high at baseline and during treatment (from baseline to cycle 14, ≥95.8% in each group completed ≥1 question on the EORTC QLQ-C30). On treatment, estimated overall global QoL scores significantly favored the palbociclib plus fulvestrant group [66.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 64.5–67.7 versus 63.0, 95% CI 60.6–65.3; P = 0.0313]. Significantly greater improvement from baseline in pain was also observed in this group (−3.3, 95% CI −5.1 to −1.5 versus 2.0, 95% CI −0.6 to 4.6; P = 0.0011). No significant differences were observed for other QLQ-BR23 functioning domains, breast or arm symptoms. Treatment with palbociclib plus fulvestrant significantly delayed deterioration in global QoL (P < 0.025) and pain (P < 0.001) compared with fulvestrant alone.


Palbociclib plus fulvestrant allowed patients to maintain good QoL in the endocrine resistance setting while experiencing substantially delayed disease progression.

Clinical Trial Registration


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