An open label, randomized phase 2 trial assessing the impact of food on the tolerability of abemaciclib in patients with advanced breast cancer

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2022 Oct;195(3):275-287. doi: 10.1007/s10549-022-06690-5. Epub 2022 Aug 1.


Purpose: Abemaciclib, a CDK4 & 6 inhibitor, is indicated for advanced breast cancer treatment. Diarrhea is a frequently associated adverse event of abemaciclib. The study objective was to investigate if food intake impacts local gastrointestinal toxicity.

Methods: This Phase 2 study (I3Y-MC-JPCP, NCT03703466) randomized 72 patients 1:1:1 to receive abemaciclib 200 mg monotherapy twice daily (1) with a meal, (2) in a modified fasting state or (3) without regard to food. Primary endpoints included: incidence of investigator assessed severe (≥ Grade 3), prolonged (> 7 days) Grade 2 diarrhea, treatment discontinuation, dose modifications, and loperamide utilization during the first 3 cycles of treatment. Patient outcomes were captured via a daily electronic diary. Pharmacokinetics (PK) are reported.

Results: Incidence of investigator assessed severe diarrhea (Grade ≥ 3) was 1.4% (1 patient in Arm 1). Median duration of Grade 3 diarrhea was 1 day by both investigator assessment (1 patient in Arm 1) and patient-reported assessment (1 patient each in Arms 1 and 3). Median duration of investigator-assessed Grade 2 diarrhea was 2 days overall. No patient discontinued treatment due to diarrhea. Nine patients (12.7%) had a dose reduction, and 7 patients (9.9%) had a dose omission due to diarrhea. Ninety-four percent of patients used loperamide at least once. Abemaciclib PK was comparable across the 3 arms.

Conclusion: The results suggest that diarrhea incidence associated with abemaciclib was unrelated to timing of food intake, was predominantly low grade, of short duration and well managed with loperamide and dose modifications.

Keywords: Breast cancer; CDK4/6 inhibitor; Tolerability.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aminopyridines
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Benzimidazoles
  • Breast Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Diarrhea / chemically induced
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loperamide / therapeutic use


  • Aminopyridines
  • Benzimidazoles
  • abemaciclib
  • Loperamide