mTOR Inhibitors for Metastatic Breast Cancer
What are mTOR inhibitors?
mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) inhibitors are drugs that may increase the benefit of hormone therapy.
Everolimus (Afinitor) is an mTOR inhibitor. Everolimus is used in combination with hormone therapy to treat some hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancers.
Everolimus (Afinitor) and metastatic breast cancer treatment
Everolimus is FDA-approved for the treatment of hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancers in postmenopausal women.
The combination of everolimus and hormone therapy can slow the growth of these cancers better than hormone therapy alone [22-23].
Learn more about treatment for metastatic breast cancer.
How is everolimus given?
Everolimus is a pill.
Side effects of everolimus
Possible side effects include mouth ulcers, infections, rash, fatigue, diarrhea, high blood sugar and decreased appetite.
In rare cases, it can cause lung inflammation, which can lead to death. Tell your health care provider right away if you have shortness of breath or other breathing problems while taking this drug.
Adapted from select sources [22-24].
Before you begin taking everolimus, talk with your health care provider about possible side effects and how to manage them.
Monitoring metastatic breast cancer
You’ll be monitored (checked) regularly with scans to see if the cancer is responding to treatment. If it’s no longer working, or if the side effects are not manageable, your health care provider will change your treatment or discuss other options.
Learn more about how metastatic breast cancer is monitored.
Clinical trials offer the chance to try new treatments and possibly benefit from them.
Many clinical trials are available. Some are for the first treatment a person might get for their metastatic breast cancer, and others are for treatments later in the disease course. Consider joining a clinical trial when you’re newly diagnosed, when your oncologist is considering changing treatments or when there are limited treatment options.
Susan G. Komen® Breast Care Helpline
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Metastatic Trial Search
The Metastatic Trial Search is a web-based clinical trial matching tool that can help you find clinical trials that fit your needs.
Learn more about clinical trials for people with metastatic breast cancer.
Prescription drug assistance
The cost of drug therapies for metastatic breast cancer can quickly become a financial burden for you and your family.
Medicare and many insurance companies offer prescription drug plans. One may already be included in your policy, or you may be able to buy an extra plan for prescriptions.
Everolimus is off-patent and has generic forms. Generic drugs cost less than the name brands but are just as effective.
You may also qualify for programs that help with drug costs or offer low-cost or free prescriptions.
Many cancer centers have patient financial counselors who can discuss insurance and cost coverage with you.
Learn more about other financial assistance programs.
Komen Financial Assistance Program
Susan G. Komen® created the Komen Financial Assistance Program to help those struggling with the costs of breast cancer treatment by providing financial assistance to eligible individuals.
Funding is available for eligible individuals undergoing breast cancer treatment at any stage or living with metastatic breast cancer (stage 4).
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Susan G. Komen®‘s position on fairness in oral cancer drug coverage
Insurance coverage of oral cancer drugs
Cancer medications given by vein (through an IV) or injection (under the skin or into a muscle) are usually covered under a health insurance plan’s medical benefit. However, cancer medications that are pills (oral cancer drugs) are usually covered under a health insurance plan’s prescription drug benefit.
As a result, people often find themselves facing high out-of-pocket costs when filling prescriptions for oral cancer drugs. Sometimes these costs can be thousands of dollars a month.
The impact of high cost-sharing
High prescription drug costs and the resulting out-of-pocket burden on patients are a barrier to care. They can prevent people from getting the medications prescribed by their health care providers.
No one should be forced to get less appropriate treatment because an insurer gives more coverage for IV and injectable drugs than pills.
Efforts to increase fairness in drug coverage
Komen supports state and federal efforts to require insurers to provide the same or better coverage for oral cancer drugs as they do for IV and injectable cancer drugs. This would help make sure patients have access to affordable, appropriate treatment.
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Sign up to be a Komen Advocacy Insider and get informed when action is needed on drug coverage issues at the state or national level.
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