The role of the liposomal anthracyclines and other systemic therapies in the management of advanced breast cancer.
ABSTRACT For patients whose breast cancers are not responsive to endocrine therapy, there are a large number of cytotoxic drugs that will induce a response. In spite of the introduction of new, very active drugs such as the taxanes, vinorelbine, capecitabine, gemcitabine, and trastuzumab, the anthracyclines are still as active as any--and more active than most--drugs used to treat breast cancer. Their inclusion in combinations to treat early and advanced disease prolongs survival. However, they cause nausea, vomiting, alopecia, myelosuppression, mucositis, and cardiomyopathies. There is no evidence that increasing the dose of conventional anthracyclines or any other of the cytotoxics beyond standard doses will improve outcomes. Schedule may be more important than dose in determining the benefit of cytotoxics used to treat breast cancer. Weekly schedules and continuous infusions of 5-fluorouracil and doxorubicin may have some advantages over more intermittent schedules. Liposomal formations of doxorubicin reduce toxicity, including cardiotoxicity; theoretically they should also be more effective because of better targeting of tumor over normal tissues. Both pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil/Caelyx [PLD]) and liposomal doxorubicin (Myocet [NPLD]) appeared to be as effective as conventional doxorubicin and much less toxic in multiple phase II and phase III studies. PLD has been evaluated in combinations with cyclophosphamide, the taxanes, vinorelbine, gemcitabine, and trastuzumab, and NPLD has been evaluated in combination with cyclophosphamide and trastuzumab. Both liposomal anthracyclines are less cardiotoxic than conventional doxorubicin. The optimal dose of PLD is lower than that of conventional doxorubicin or NPLD. Patients treated with PLD have almost no alopecia, nausea, or vomiting, but its use is associated with stomatitis and hand-foot syndrome, which can be avoided or minimized with the use of proper dose-schedules. In contrast, the optimal dose-schedule of NPLD is nearly identical to that of conventional doxorubicin. The toxicity profile of NPLD is similar to that of conventional doxorubicin, but toxicities are less severe and NPLD is better tolerated than conventional doxorubicin at higher doses.
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ABSTRACT: We conducted a phase II clinical trial to determine the clinical efficacy and safety of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in combination with gemcitabine in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Patients were eligible if they had measurable disease, no prior chemotherapy for metastatic disease, and a performance status </= 2 on the Zubrod scale. Patients received pegylated liposomal doxorubicin 24 mg/m2 intravenously on day 1, plus gemcitabine 800 mg/m2 intravenously on days 1 and 8 of each 21-day cycle. Of 49 patients enrolled, 27 had received prior adjuvant chemotherapy (19 with an anthracycline). Prior median cumulative anthracycline dose was 240 mg/m2. In total, three complete responses and 21 partial responses were achieved in 46 assessable patients, for an overall response rate of 52% (95% confidence interval, 37% to 67%). Responses were observed in 11 (58%) of 19 patients with previous anthracycline exposure. Median response duration was 5.6 months, time to progression was 4.5 months, and overall survival was 16.1 months. Although the most common grade 3 to 4 toxicities were hematologic, few neutropenic complications resulted. The most frequent nonhematologic toxicities were nausea and vomiting, fatigue, stomatitis, and hand-foot syndrome. One patient previously treated with an anthracycline developed a transient decrease (21%) in the left ventricular ejection fraction, with cardiac function recovering within 2 months. Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in combination with gemcitabine is active and well tolerated in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Median overall survival was 16.1 months, and approximately 78% of patients derived clinical benefit from treatment. This regimen represents a therapeutic option for patients receiving front-line therapy for their metastatic breast cancer.Journal of Clinical Oncology 09/2003; 21(17):3249-54. · 18.04 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A randomized clinical trial was performed to determine if combination therapy with doxorubicin, vincristine, and mitomycin C (DVM) was superior to doxorubicin alone in women with metastatic breast cancer for whom prior chemotherapy had failed. A total of 185 women were randomized to monthly courses of D (60 mg/m2, observation after 500 mg/m2); or D (50 mg/m2, maximum cumulative dose 500 mg/m2), V (1 mg/m2), and M (10 mg/m2, given every other cycle). Patients failing after D alone could receive V (1 mg weekly for 5 weeks, then 1.2 mg/m2 every 5 weeks) plus M (12 mg/m2 every 5 weeks). Objective responses were seen in 24 of 95 patients (25%) on D alone and 39 of 90 patients (43%) on DVM (two-sided p = 0.01). The time to disease progression distribution was significantly better for DVM (two-sided p = 0.02), but the magnitude of the advantage was small with the medians being 2.7 months for D and 4.2 months for DVM. There was no significant difference in survival between the two regimens. The degree of leukopenia was greater for DVM both in terms of median white blood cell nadir (1,300/microL versus 1,700/microL) and percentage of patients with a nadir less than 1,000/microL (33% versus 16%). A total of 45 patients received VM following D alone, and only seven (16%) achieved an objective response. We conclude that, despite a significantly higher response rate and longer time to progression, the degree of clinical benefit is not sufficient to recommend the combination of DVM over D alone as second-line therapy for women with metastatic breast cancer. The level of efficacy seen with VM as tertiary therapy is low and is of such a magnitude to suggest that V adds little but toxicity to M.American Journal of Clinical Oncology 01/1990; 12(6):474-80. · 2.55 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Sixty breast cancer patients with hormone-resistant metastatic disease who had progressed after chemotherapy with low-dose cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil (CMF) or with L-phenylalanine mustard underwent treatment with a low-dose Adriamycin regimen,i.e., 20 mg/m2, intravenously on days 1 and 8 every 28 days. Two percent of patients had complete responses; 25%, partial responses; 38%, stabilization; and 35%, progression. The time to progression for the responders was similar to that of the stabilized patients, while the responders and stabilized patients survived significantly longer than did the progressors. Responses were seen in nodal, hepatic, dermal/subcutaneous, bone, pulmonary, and peritoneal metastases. The toxicity was mild: 18% of patients had leukocyte counts of less than 3,000/mm3; 10% had platelet counts of less than 90,000/mm3, 22% experience vomiting; and 33% had hair loss. No patient experienced local venous/subcutaneous toxicity or heart failure. Since this regimen of low-dose Adriamycin appears to be as effective as, but less toxic than, the secondary standard-dose of Adriamycin at 60--75 mg/m2 every three weeks, a randomized trial of low-dose Adriamycin vs. standard-dose Adriamycin should be conducted in metastatic breast cancer patients who have previously undergone chemotherapy.Cancer 09/1980; 46(3):433-7. · 5.20 Impact Factor