Palbociclib with adjuvant endocrine therapy in early breast cancer (PALLAS): interim analysis of a multicentre, open-label, randomised, phase 3 study

Lancet Oncol. 2021 Feb;22(2):212-222. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30642-2. Epub 2021 Jan 15.


Background: Palbociclib added to endocrine therapy improves progression-free survival in hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative, metastatic breast cancer. The PALLAS trial aimed to investigate whether the addition of 2 years of palbociclib to adjuvant endocrine therapy improves invasive disease-free survival over endocrine therapy alone in patients with hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative, early-stage breast cancer.

Methods: PALLAS is an ongoing multicentre, open-label, randomised, phase 3 study that enrolled patients at 406 cancer centres in 21 countries worldwide with stage II-III histologically confirmed hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, within 12 months of initial diagnosis. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance score of 0 or 1. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) in permuted blocks of random size (4 or 6), stratified by anatomic stage, previous chemotherapy, age, and geographical region, by use of central telephone-based and web-based interactive response technology, to receive either 2 years of palbociclib (125 mg orally once daily on days 1-21 of a 28-day cycle) with ongoing standard provider or patient-choice adjuvant endocrine therapy (tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitor, with or without concurrent luteinising hormone-releasing hormone agonist), or endocrine therapy alone, without masking. The primary endpoint of the study was invasive disease-free survival in the intention-to-treat population. Safety was assessed in all randomly assigned patients who started palbociclib or endocrine therapy. This report presents results from the second pre-planned interim analysis triggered on Jan 9, 2020, when 67% of the total number of expected invasive disease-free survival events had been observed. The trial is registered with (NCT02513394) and EudraCT (2014-005181-30).

Findings: Between Sept 1, 2015, and Nov 30, 2018, 5760 patients were randomly assigned to receive palbociclib plus endocrine therapy (n=2883) or endocrine therapy alone (n=2877). At the time of the planned second interim analysis, at a median follow-up of 23·7 months (IQR 16·9-29·2), 170 of 2883 patients assigned to palbociclib plus endocrine therapy and 181 of 2877 assigned to endocrine therapy alone had invasive disease-free survival events. 3-year invasive disease-free survival was 88·2% (95% CI 85·2-90·6) for palbociclib plus endocrine therapy and 88·5% (85·8-90·7) for endocrine therapy alone (hazard ratio 0·93 [95% CI 0·76-1·15]; log-rank p=0·51). As the test statistic comparing invasive disease-free survival between groups crossed the prespecified futility boundary, the independent data monitoring committee recommended discontinuation of palbociclib in patients still receiving palbociclib and endocrine therapy. The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were neutropenia (1742 [61·3%] of 2840 patients on palbociclib and endocrine therapy vs 11 [0·3%] of 2903 on endocrine therapy alone), leucopenia (857 [30·2%] vs three [0·1%]), and fatigue (60 [2·1%] vs ten [0·3%]). Serious adverse events occurred in 351 (12·4%) of 2840 patients on palbociclib plus endocrine therapy versus 220 (7·6%) of 2903 patients on endocrine therapy alone. There were no treatment-related deaths.

Interpretation: At the planned second interim analysis, addition of 2 years of adjuvant palbociclib to adjuvant endocrine therapy did not improve invasive disease-free survival compared with adjuvant endocrine therapy alone. On the basis of these findings, this regimen cannot be recommended in the adjuvant setting. Long-term follow-up of the PALLAS population and correlative studies are ongoing.

Funding: Pfizer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Aromatase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Aromatase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Piperazines / administration & dosage*
  • Piperazines / adverse effects
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Pyridines / administration & dosage*
  • Pyridines / adverse effects
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Estrogen / genetics
  • Tamoxifen / administration & dosage


  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Piperazines
  • Pyridines
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Tamoxifen
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • palbociclib

Associated data

  • EudraCT/2014-005181-30