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1.  Weekly nab-Paclitaxel in Metastatic Breast Cancer – Summary and Results of an Expert Panel Discussion 
Breast Care  2012;7(2):137-143.
Taxanes are regarded as the most effective single agents in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer (MBC). For conventional taxanes, crucial toxicities and impairments in clinical efficacy are related to solvents necessary because of the agents’ hydrophobicity. The mandatory premedication with corticosteroids causes additional side effects. Nab-paclitaxel is a solvent-free colloidal suspension of paclitaxel and human serum albumin that exploits the physiological transport properties of albumin. It is registered as monotherapy with a recommended dose of 260 mg/m2 every 3 weeks for the treatment of patients with MBC, who have failed a first-line treatment of metastatic disease and for whom a standard anthracycline treatment is not indicated. Clinical evidence is available for the registered 3-weekly administration and for alternative weekly schedules in first and further lines of therapy of patients with MBC. During an advisory board meeting, a group of 8 German breast cancer experts reviewed the clinical data of nab-paclitaxel in MBC and discussed how nab-paclitaxel could be used in clinical practice on the basis of the current data.
PMCID: PMC3376367  PMID: 22740801
First-line therapy; Metastatic breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Weekly; nab-Paclitaxel; Paclitaxel; Docetaxel
2.  Chemotherapy in Patients with Anthracycline- and Taxane-Pretreated Metastatic Breast Cancer: An Overview 
Current breast cancer reports  2013;5(1):42-50.
Anthracyclines and taxanes are cytotoxic agents that are commonly used for the treatment of breast cancer, including in the adjuvant, neoadjuvant, and metastatic setting. Each drug class of is associated with cumulative and potentially irreversible toxicity, including cardiomyopathy (anthracyclines) and neuropathy (taxanes). This may either limit the duration of therapy for advanced disease, or prevent retreatment for recurrence if previously used as component of adjuvant or neoadjuvant therapy. Several classes of cytotoxic agents have been evaluated in patients with anthracycline and taxane-pretreated metastatic breast cancer (MBC), including other antitubulins (vinorelbine, ixabepilone, eribulin), antimetabolites (capecitabine, gemcitabine), topoisomerase I inhibitors (irinotecan), platinum analogues (cisplatin, carboplatin), and liposomal doxorubicin preparations. No trials have shown an overall survival advantage for combination chemotherapy in this setting, indicating that single cytotoxic agents should usually be used, expect perhaps in patients with rapidly progressive disease and/or high tumor burden.
PMCID: PMC3579672  PMID: 23440080
Metastatic breast cancer; MBC; Chemotherapy; Cytotoxic agents; Anthracycline; Taxane; Pretreated; Systemic cytotoxic therapy; Drug resistance
3.  Re-Challenging Taxanes in Recurrent Breast Cancer in Patients Treated with (Neo-)Adjuvant Taxane-Based Therapy 
Breast Care  2011;6(4):279-283.
Background: Docetaxel and paclitaxel are among the most active substances for the treatment of breast cancer. As both drugs are used today in adjuvant regimens, efficacy data from pivotal trials in the metastatic setting in taxane-naive populations cannot reliably be used as references. Patients and Methods: The Taxane Re-Challenge Cohort Study identified participants from 6 prospective (neo-)adjuvant taxane-based studies with recurrent disease and collected data on their subsequent treatment. Out of 381 recurrent patients, 106 (27.8%) were re-challenged with a taxane-based treatment as first- or later-line therapy for recurrent disease. Results: Taxanes were used as first-line therapy in 74 patients and showed a response rate of 48.6% (including complete responses in 27.0%). The response rate was dependent on the disease-free interval (<1 year: 34.8%; 1-2 years: 42.9%; >2 years: 63.3%; p = 0.04) and visceral metastasis (present: 62.5%; not present 32.4%; p = 0.01). Patients without visceral metastasis and with a disease-free interval of >2 years achieved the longest overall survival. Hormone and HER2 receptor status were not predictive; however, triple-negative tumors responded in 50.0%. The overall response rate of later-line taxane-based treatment was 28.2%. Conclusion: Re-challenging taxanes appears to be effective and therefore represents a reasonable option in this population.
PMCID: PMC3225212  PMID: 22164126
Docetaxel; Paclitaxel; Adjuvant; Recurrent breast cancer
4.  Meta-analysis of phase III trials of docetaxel alone or in combination with chemotherapy in metastatic breast cancer 
Whether combination chemotherapy offers an advantage over sequential therapy in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is still an unsettled issue. Polychemotherapy regimens containing taxanes has been shown to increase overall survival (OS), time to tumor progression (TTP), and overall response rate (ORR) when compared with regimens that did not contain a taxanes, while taxane-based doublets have a statistically significant benefit over single-agent taxane only for progression-free survival. However, the term “taxanes” generally includes both paclitaxel and docetaxel, drugs with different clinical activity. Aim of this work is to compare OS, TTP, and ORR in patients with MBC receiving docetaxel alone or in combination with chemotherapy using a formal meta-analysis.
We performed a systematic review of all published trials comparing docetaxel alone or in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents in MBC.
Three randomized clinical trials including 1,313 patients were retrieved. A significant reduction of risk ratio was found in TTP (P ≤ 0.0001) but not in OS (P = 0.48) or ORR (P = 0.10) for patients treated with a chemotherapy agent plus docetaxel compared with docetaxel alone. Treatment with docetaxel alone is associated with a lower incidence of grade 3 diarrhea and stomatitis (diarrhea, P = 0.011; stomatitis, P = 0.0004).
Combination chemotherapy regimens with docetaxel show a statistically significant advantage for TTP, but not for OS and ORR in MBC. This review confirms that it is unlikely that any single agent or combination chemotherapy regimen will emerge as superior in MBC, due to its heterogeneous nature.
PMCID: PMC3258394  PMID: 22095437
Metastatic breast cancer; Meta-analysis; Docetaxel; Taxanes
5.  Evaluation of the clinical benefits of nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel in women with metastatic breast cancer in British Columbia 
Current Oncology  2013;20(2):97-103.
Altered formulations of taxanes may lack cross-resistance with standardly used solvent-based taxanes. The primary objective of the present study was to assess the clinical benefit of nanoparticle albumin-bound (nab)–paclitaxel in women with metastatic breast cancer previously treated with and without adjuvant taxane in British Columbia.
The BC Cancer Agency Pharmacy data repository and Breast Cancer Outcomes Unit database were linked to identify all patients who received nab-paclitaxel in British Columbia since its introduction in 2007. Hormone receptor status, demographic characteristics, number of cycles prescribed, and time to treatment failure were extracted and analyzed.
From 2007 to 2011, 138 patients in British Columbia received nab-paclitaxel, with 122 patients available for analysis. Most (70.5%) received adjuvant chemotherapy; about a quarter (24.6%) received an adjuvant taxane. Patients who received adjuvant taxane were more likely to have node-positive (86.7% vs. 48.9%, p = 0.007), estrogen receptor–negative (46.7% vs. 13.0% p < 0.001) disease and to receive initial adjuvant radiotherapy (76.7% vs. 51.1%, p < 0.001). For the entire cohort, the median number of nab-paclitaxel cycles prescribed was 4.4 (range: 0.3–13). The median number of nab-paclitaxel cycles was greater when that agent was given as first- or second-line therapy than as third-line or greater therapy (5.0 cycles vs. 3.7 cycles respectively). The median time to treatment failure was 96 days in the prior adjuvant taxane group (range: 0–361) and 73.5 days in the no prior adjuvant taxane group (range: 0–1176).
This retrospective study demonstrates potential clinical activity of nab-paclitaxel in metastatic breast cancer regardless of whether patients had prior exposure to adjuvant taxanes.
PMCID: PMC3615860  PMID: 23559872
Nanoparticle; albumin-bound; nab-paclitaxel; metastatic breast cancer; adjuvant taxane
6.  Optimal use of taxanes in metastatic breast cancer 
Current Oncology  2009;16(3):8-20.
The role of taxanes in the treatment of breast cancer is becoming increasingly important. In clinical practice, the taxanes are now standard therapy in both early-stage and metastatic breast cancer. Since the 1990s, multiple randomized clinical trials have been evaluating the efficacy of taxanes in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. These trials have included treatment with taxanes alone or in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents. Pre-existing published guidelines for the use of taxanes in the management of metastatic breast cancer are available. The mandate of the Alberta Cancer Board Provincial Breast Tumour Group Guideline Panel was to consider and adapt the recommendations of the existing guidelines and to develop de novo guidelines to account for current evidence. For this task, the panel used the adapte process, which is a systematic process of guideline adaptation developed by the adapte Collaboration.
The recommendations formulated by the panel included the identification of taxane regimens that could be offered in anthracycline-naïve patients, anthracycline-pretreated or -resistant patients, and patients overexpressing the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. Potential toxicities and benefits in terms of time to progression, progression-free survival, overall survival, and quality of life were also considered.
PMCID: PMC2695713  PMID: 19526080
Metastatic breast cancer; docetaxel; paclitaxel; nab-paclitaxel; chemotherapy
7.  Albumin-bound formulation of paclitaxel (Abraxane® ABI-007) in the treatment of breast cancer 
Breast cancer is the most common type of malignancy diagnosed in women. In the metastatic setting this disease is still uncurable. Taxanes represent an important class of antitumor agents which have proven to be fundamental in the treatment of advanced and early-stage breast cancer, but the clinical advances of taxanes have been limited by their highly hydrophobic molecular status. To overcome this poor water solubility, lipid-based solvents have been used as a vehicle, and new systemic formulations have been developed, mostly for paclitaxel, which are Cremophor-free and increase the circulation time of the drug. ABI-007 is a novel, albumin-bound, 130-nm particle formulation of paclitaxel, free from any kind of solvent. It has been demonstrated to be superior to an equitoxic dose of standard paclitaxel with a significantly lower incidence of toxicities in a large, international, randomized phase III trial. The availability of new drugs, such as Abraxane®, in association with other traditional and non-traditional drugs (new antineoplastic agents and targeted molecules), will give the oncologist many different effective treatment options for patients in this setting.
PMCID: PMC2720743  PMID: 19516888
paclitaxel; Abraxane; breast cancer; nanotechnology
8.  Can the status of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Susceptibility Gene 1 product (BRCA1) predict response to taxane-based cancer therapy? 
Taxanes (paclitaxel and docetaxel) are currently used to treat ovarian, breast, lung, and head and neck cancers. Despite its clinical success taxane-based treatment could be significantly improved by identifying those patients whose tumors are more likely to present a clinical response. In this mini-review we discuss the accumulating evidence indicating that the breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene product BRCA1 mediates cellular response to taxanes. We review data from in vitro, animal, and clinical studies, and discuss them in context of response to therapy. We argue that levels of BRCA1 in tumors may provide a predictive marker for the response to treatment with taxanes. In addition, the study of the role of BRCA1 in the mechanism of action of taxanes might reveal alternative approaches to avoid resistance.
PMCID: PMC2745270  PMID: 19519295
Taxol; taxane; BRCA1; cancer; biomarker; microtubule; tubulin; chemotherapy
9.  Safety and Efficacy of nab-Paclitaxel in the Treatment of Patients with Breast Cancer 
Taxanes are highly active chemotherapeutic agents in the treatment of early-stage and metastatic breast cancer. Novel formulations have been developed to improve efficacy and decrease toxicity associated with these cytotoxic agents. nab-paclitaxel is a solvent free, albumin-bound 130-nanometer particle formulation of paclitaxel (Abraxane®, Abraxis Bioscience), which was developed to avoid toxicities of the Cremophor vehicle used in solvent-based paclitaxel. In a phase III clinical trial, nab-paclitaxel demonstrated higher response rates, better safety and side-effect profile compared to conventional paclitaxel, and improved survival in patients receiving it as second line therapy. Higher doses can be administered over a shorter infusion time without the need for special infusion sets or pre-medications. It is now approved in the US for treatment of breast cancer after failure of combination chemotherapy for metastatic disease or relapse within 6 months of adjuvant therapy, where prior therapy included an anthracycline. Recently, several phase II studies have suggested a role for nab-paclitaxel as a single agent and in combination with other agents for first-line treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3091407  PMID: 21603258
nab-paclitaxel; nab-technology; paclitaxel; metastatic breast cancer; taxanes
10.  Phase II Trial of Sorafenib in Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer Previously Exposed to Anthracyclines or Taxanes: North Central Cancer Treatment Group and Mayo Clinic Trial N0336 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2008;27(1):11-15.
We conducted a cooperative group phase II study to assess antitumor activity and toxicity of sorafenib in patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) who had received prior treatment for their disease.
Patient and Methods
Patients were eligible if they had measurable disease and had previously received an anthracycline and/or a taxane in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant, or metastatic setting. The primary end point of the study was tumor response per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST). The study was designed in two stages. Sorafenib was administered as 400 mg twice daily on days 1 through 28 of each 4-week cycle.
Twenty-three patients were enrolled with a median age of 54 years (range, 37 to 70 years). Twenty-two (96%) had prior anthracycline treatment and 16 (70%) had prior taxane treatment. Patients received sorafenib for a median of two cycles (range, one to 15 cycles) with a median follow-up of 2.4 years (range, 2.2 to 2.6 years). There were no grade 4 toxicities and few grade 3 toxicities. Among the 20 patients eligible for efficacy analysis, no patients experienced a partial response or complete response per RECIST criteria. Thus, the trial stopped at the end of the first stage per study design. Two patients (10%; 90% CI, 1.8% to 28.3%) achieved stable disease lasting longer than 6 months.
Sorafenib as a single agent, although well tolerated, did not exhibit activity when measured by tumor shrinkage in patients with MBC who had received prior treatment. Further research should focus on combinations with standard therapy and end points more sensitive to effects of targeted agents, such as disease stabilization.
PMCID: PMC2645094  PMID: 19047293
11.  Oncology Nursing Support for Safe and Effective Use of Eribulin in Metastatic Breast Cancer 
Nurse practitioners play important roles in breast cancer prevention, early detection, therapeutic efficacy, and surveillance. Assessment of a patient’s health status is part of the nine nurse practitioner core competencies updated in 2012 by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. Although adverse events are common in treatment for metastatic breast cancer (MBC), proactive management strategies can limit the number and/or severity of adverse events. Additionally, knowledge of common metastatic sites and clinical signs/symptoms of recurrence provides one of the first-line strategies for successful treatment. We review five case studies of women with MBC who were managed successfully with eribulin mesylate in late lines of therapy after at least two chemotherapeutic regimens for advanced breast cancer that included both an anthracycline and a taxane in either the adjuvant or metastatic setting.
PMCID: PMC4022698  PMID: 24855406
eribulin; metastatic breast cancer; distant breast cancer metastases; eribulin-related AE management
12.  The role of Tau protein in resistance to paclitaxel 
Resistance to taxanes, related to limited efficacy of systemic therapy in cancer patients, is multifactorial. Among mechanisms of resistance to taxanes, those related to microtubule-associated proteins (MAP), including protein Tau, are of great importance. Protein Tau (50–64 kD) binds to beta-tubulin in the same place as paclitaxel. In preclinical studies, low expression of Tau in cancer cells was associated with increased sensitivity to paclitaxel. High expression of Tau protein in ER-positive breast cancers indicates resistance to taxane-containing chemotherapy and sensitivity to hormonal treatment. This article reviews current knowledge on predictive value of protein Tau in response to taxanes. Better understanding of its role may facilitate patients selection to this sort of treatment and lead to treatment optimization.
PMCID: PMC3162141  PMID: 21713447
Protein Tau; Microtubules; Taxanes; Chemoresistance
13.  Beyond taxanes: the next generation of microtubule-targeting agents 
Taxanes are a standard first-line option for metastatic breast cancer (MBC), but their utility may be limited by primary or acquired resistance. New microtubule-targeting agents have been developed to overcome taxane resistance and provide additional options for improving patient outcomes. This article reviews these alternative microtubule-targeting agents and their potential clinical benefits for MBC patients. Relevant clinical data were compiled through searches within PubMed and congress abstract databases. Ixabepilone, a novel microtubule-stabilizing drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has proven efficacy across multiple lines of therapy, including patients with taxane-resistant/refractory disease. In phase III trials, ixabepilone plus capecitabine significantly improved progression-free survival compared with capecitabine alone in anthracycline/taxane-pretreated patients. Eribulin has recently been approved by the FDA and by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of patients with MBC who have received at least two prior chemotherapy regimens for late-stage disease. In a phase III trial, eribulin extended overall survival compared with the physician’s treatment choice in heavily pretreated MBC patients. In addition, several investigational microtubule-targeting agents may have therapeutic potential in MBC. The development of new microtubule-targeting agents helps to address the need for additional effective regimens for patients progressing after standard treatment with anthracycline- and taxane-containing regimens.
PMCID: PMC3387492  PMID: 22113255
Taxanes; Microtubule-targeting agents; Epothilones; Ixabepilone; Eribulin
14.  Weekly docetaxel in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer 
Breast cancer is the most frequent tumor among women worldwide and is the second cause of cancer-related mortality in the US. Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) accounts for less than 10% of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and about 30% of early breast cancer patients will develop recurrent, advanced, or metastatic disease. It remains an incurable illness and the primary goal of its management is palliative. Several agents are active for the first-line treatment of MBC. The taxanes, paclitaxel and docetaxel, represent the standard of care for the treatment of these patients. Among the various schedules, docetaxel can be administered weekly, achieving similar efficacy results with lower toxicity compared with conventional schedules. Weekly docetaxel (25–40 mg/m2) has been widely tested in several phase I and II studies both as a single agent and in multichemotherapy regimens, reaching overall response rates ranging from 26% and 86% or 20% and 73% with docetaxel alone or in combination, respectively, depending on doses, associations, and line of treatment. Overall, published data support the administration of weekly docetaxel for the treatment of MBC patients even if data from phase III randomized trials are still lacking.
PMCID: PMC2621419  PMID: 19209285
docetaxel; weekly; metastatic breast cancer; chemotherapy
15.  Capecitabine Monotherapy: Review of Studies in First-Line HER-2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer 
The Oncologist  2012;17(4):476-484.
The available evidence for the use of capecitabine as a single agent in the first-line treatment of patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–negative metastatic breast cancer is reviewed.
The goals of treatment for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) are to prolong overall survival (OS) while maximizing quality of life, palliating symptoms, and delaying tumor progression. For many years, anthracyclines and taxanes have been the mainstay of treatment for MBC, but these agents are now commonly administered earlier in the course of the disease. A recent meta-analysis revealed adverse effects on OS and overall response rates in patients with MBC receiving first-line anthracycline-based chemotherapy following relapse on adjuvant chemotherapy. Noncrossresistant cytotoxic agents and combinations that combine high clinical activity and acceptable tolerability while being convenient for patients are therefore needed for the first-line treatment of MBC patients. Capecitabine has substantial antitumor activity in the first-line treatment of patients with MBC in prospective, randomized, phase II/III clinical trials as monotherapy and in combination with biologic and novel agents. First-line capecitabine monotherapy has a favorable safety profile, lacking myelosuppression and alopecia, and does not compromise the administration of further lines of chemotherapy. Capecitabine is suitable for long-term administration without the cumulative toxicity that can limit the prolonged use of other chemotherapy agents. Here, we review the available data on capecitabine as a single agent for first-line treatment of patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–negative MBC.
PMCID: PMC3336834  PMID: 22418569
Metastatic breast cancer; Capecitabine; First-line therapy; Chemotherapy
16.  Ixabepilone as Monotherapy or in Combination with Capecitabine for the Treatment of Advanced Breast Cancer 
Breast Cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the world with 4.4 million survivors up to 5 years following the diagnosis.1 In the US alone approximately forty thousand women die annually of metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Despite many effective systemic treatment options approximately 50% of women with MBC succumb to the disease within 24 months of the diagnosis.2 Ixabepilone is a novel, first in class member of the epothilone class of antineoplastic agents. Ixabepilone is indicated as monotherapy for the treatment of metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer in patients whose tumors are resistant or refractory to anthracyclines, taxanes, and Capecitabine. Ixabepilone is also indicated in combination with Capecitabine for the treatment of patients with metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer resistant to treatment with an anthracycline and a taxane, or whose cancer is taxane resistant and for whom further anthracycline therapy is contraindicated. Ixabepilone was extensively studied as a single agent in patients with MBC and was found to be effective and well tolerated with a predictable and manageable safety profile. Not surprisingly prior exposure to anthracyclines and taxanes affects significantly the potential for response to therapy with single agent Ixabepilone in metastatic setting. MBC patients with taxane resistant MBC have objective response rate (RR) of 12%, patients with prior low exposure to taxanes and/or resistance RR = 22%, Ixabepilone treatment after adjuvant anthracycline therapy exposure renders RR = 42% and in Taxane naïve patients RR = 57%. In two large phase III studies of Ixabepilone + Capecitabine versus Capecitabine alone, progression free survival (PFS) and overall response rates (RR) were higher in the combination treatment arms, but no survival advantage was seen overall. Treatment with Ixabepilone + Capecitabine in a phase II study resulted in an overall response rate (ORR) of 23% in ER/PR/HER2 negative, triple-negative breast cancer patients (TNBC) while ORR of 31% was seen in a preplanned pooled analysis of TNBC in the phase III trials of Ixabepilone + Capecitabine. Significantly prolonged median PFS was seen for TNBC treated with the combination of Ixabepilone + Capecitabine compared to Capecitabine alone 4.2 vs. 1.7 months respectively. Ixabepilone as single agent appears to show excellent antitumor activity in patients with TNBC MBC. Addition of Ixabepilone to Capecitabine results in approximately doubling in median PFS for TNBC versus Capecitabine alone. Single agent Ixabepilone is generally well tolerated, and its toxicity profile does not overlap with that of Capecitabine and therefore depending on prior exposure to chemotherapy both single agent Ixabepilone or in combination with Capecitabine can be used safely and effectively for treatment of advanced breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3076013  PMID: 21494397
Ixabepilone; metastatic breast cancer; monotherapy; in combination with capecitabine; triple negative breast cancer
17.  Eribulin mesylate in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer 
The treatment of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) has become increasingly challenging as the primary goals of therapy include prolonging life without added toxicity. While multiple agents are approved for the therapy of MBC, there is no standard approach for therapy beyond the second-line. Eribulin mesylate, an analog of the marine sponge halichondrin B, is a non-taxane microtubule dynamics inhibitor with a mechanism of action distinct from other tubulin-targeted drugs. Based on a significant extension in overall survival seen in a Phase III clinical trial, eribulin was approved for third-line therapy in MBC patients following anthracycline and taxane failure. Eribulin has a manageable toxicity profile and a low incidence of peripheral neuropathy. In this review, we discuss the natural source of eribulin, pharmacology, mode of action, preclinical and clinical data, and patient-focused perspectives.
PMCID: PMC3266863  PMID: 22291464
eribulin; metastatic breast cancer; microtubule
18.  Phase II Study of Gemcitabine plus Cisplatin in Patients with Anthracycline- and Taxane- Pretreated Metastatic Breast Cancer 
Metastatic breast cancer patients are usually exposed to taxane and anthracycline as neoadjuvant, adjuvant and palliative chemotherapeutic agents. This study was designed to determine the efficacy and safety of the use of a gemcitabine and cisplatin (GP) combination treatment in patients with metastatic breast cancer that were pretreated with anthracycline and taxane.
Materials and Methods
We evaluated the use of a GP regimen (1,000 mg/m2 gemcitabine administered on days 1 and 8 plus 60 mg/m2 cisplatin administered on day 1 every 3 weeks) in 38 breast cancer patients who had received prior chemotherapy with anthracycline and taxane as an adjuvant or neoadjuvant therapy, or as a palliative therapy.
The median patient age was 49 years (age range, 35~69 years). The overall response rate was 28.9% in 11 patients (95% confidence interval [CI], 14~44%). The median time to progression was 5.2 months (95% CI, 3.6~6.8 months). Median survival was 19.5 months (95% CI, 11.2~27.8 months). Major grade 3/4 hematological toxicity was due to leukopenia (36 of 157 cycles, 23.1%). Non-hematological toxicity was rarely severe; grade1/2 nausea and vomiting were observed in 37.8% of the patients. There were no treatment related deaths.
Our results suggest that the use of gemcitabine plus cisplatin appears to be effective and has an acceptable toxicity profile in patients with advanced breast cancer that have been pretreated with anthracycline and taxane.
PMCID: PMC2697461  PMID: 19688114
Breast neoplasms; Anthracycline; Taxane; Gemcitabine; Cisplatin
19.  Ixabepilone development across the breast cancer continuum: a paradigm shift 
The epothilone analog ixabepilone exhibits reduced susceptibility to several important tumor survival mechanisms that limit the efficacy of taxanes and anthracyclines. As a single agent, ixabepilone has shown promise in metastatic breast cancer when anthracyclines, taxanes, or capecitabine have failed; and in early-stage breast cancer that is taxane-naïve or has previously received taxanes in the adjuvant or metastatic setting. Compared with capecitabine alone, ixabepilone used in combination with capecitabine in patients previously treated with and resistant to anthracyclines and taxanes produced a 25% reduction in the risk of disease progression. Triple-negative tumors showed particular susceptibility to this doublet. Ixabepilone has also demonstrated efficacy as first-line therapy in combination with targeted agents such as bevacizumab and trastuzumab. Ongoing investigations should provide insight as to how this agent could be integrated into treatment of early-stage disease. In clinical studies, toxicities with ixabepilone were manageable and reversible through dose reduction or delay, even in patients with extensive or heavily-pretreated disease. Thus, ixabepilone represents a useful addition to the therapeutic options available for advanced breast cancer, and it may extend progression-free survival in patients with limited treatment options.
PMCID: PMC3004591  PMID: 21188108
ixabepilone; breast cancer; efficacy; metastasis; adjuvant
20.  An Open-Label Safety Study of Lapatinib Plus Trastuzumab Plus Paclitaxel in First-Line HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer 
The Oncologist  2013;18(6):661-666.
Combining lapatinib and trastuzumab with taxane chemotherapy may offer clinical benefit to patients with cancer. Dose-limiting toxicities, safety, and tolerability of this combination was assessed. Of the triplet combinations tested, the cohort receiving 750 mg/day dose of lapatinib had the lowest incidence of diarrhea; therefore, this dose should be used in further studies on the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
Recent data support the hypothesis that combining lapatinib and trastuzumab with taxane chemotherapy may offer added clinical benefit to patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC). This study examined the safety of the triplet combination in first-line HER2-positive MBC.
Patients and Methods.
Patients were enrolled into three sequential cohorts; the last two cohorts were added by protocol amendment following review of safety data from cohort 1. Patients in cohort 1 received lapatinib (1000 mg/day) plus paclitaxel (80 mg/m2 per week, 3 of every 4 weeks); cohort 2 received lapatinib (1000 mg/day) plus paclitaxel (70 mg/m2 per week, 3 of every 4 weeks); and cohort 3 received lapatinib (750 mg/day) plus paclitaxel (80 mg/m2 per week, 3 of every 4 weeks). All received standard trastuzumab dosing. The primary objective was assessment of dose-limiting toxicities, safety, and tolerability of this combination.
The most frequent adverse events (AEs) for all cohorts were diarrhea (89%), rash (79%), fatigue (73%), alopecia (63%), nausea (63%), and vomiting (40%). In cohorts 1 and 2, the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea was 62% and 50%, respectively; in cohort 3, the incidence was 25% (with prophylactic loperamide). Dehydration was the most frequent serious AE (10%). Across cohorts, overall response rate was 75%.
The dose-limiting toxicity of paclitaxel, trastuzumab, and lapatinib in first-line HER2-positive MBC was diarrhea. Of the triplet combinations tested, the cohort receiving 750 mg/day dose of lapatinib had the lowest incidence of diarrhea; therefore, this dose should be used in further studies on the treatment of MBC.
PMCID: PMC4063391  PMID: 23697602
Breast cancer; HER2; Lapatinib; Paclitaxel; Trastuzumab
21.  Identification and cost of adverse events in metastatic breast cancer in taxane and capecitabine based regimens 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:259.
We sought to compare the economic impact of treatment-related adverse events (AEs) in patients with metastatic breast cancer (mBC) using taxane- or capecitabine-based treatment regimens as either first- or second-line (FL or SL) therapy in the US.
We used healthcare claims data from the Truven Health Analytics MarketScan® Commercial Databases to conduct a retrospective cohort study comparing the economic impact of AEs amongst taxane- and capecitabine-treated mBC patients in the US. We selected women diagnosed with mBC between 2008–2010 who received a taxane or capecitabine as first- or second-line (FL or SL) chemotherapy. Costs related to hospitalization, outpatient services, emergency department visits, chemotherapy and other medications were tabulated and combined to determine total healthcare costs. The incremental monthly costs associated with the presence of AEs compared to no AEs were estimated using generalized linear models, controlling for age and Charlson Comorbidity Index.
We identified 15,443 mBC patients meeting inclusion criteria. Adjusted total monthly costs were significantly higher in those who experienced AEs than in those without AEs in both lines of treatment (FL incremental cost: taxanes $1,142, capecitabine $1,817; SL incremental cost: taxanes $1,448, capecitabine $4,437). Total costs increased with the number of AEs and were primarily driven by increased hospitalization amongst those with AEs.
Adverse events in taxane- or capecitabine-treated mBC patients are associated with significant increases in costs. Selecting treatment options associated with fewer AEs may reduce costs and improve outcomes in these patients.
PMCID: PMC4047276  PMID: 24926422
Breast neoplasms; Adverse effects; Antineoplastic agents; Costs and cost analysis
22.  Ixabepilone: a new chemotherapeutic option for refractory metastatic breast cancer 
Biologics : Targets & Therapy  2008;2(3):505-515.
Taxane therapy is commonly used in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. However, most patients will eventually become refractory to these agents. Ixabepilone is a newly approved chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Although it targets microtubules similarly to docetaxel and paclitaxel, ixabepilone has activity in patients that are refractory to taxanes. This review summarizes the pharmacology of ixapebilone and clinical trials with the drug both as a single agent and in combination. Data were obtained using searches of PubMed and abstracts of the annual meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium from 1995 to 2008. Ixapebilone is a semi-synthetic analog of epothilone B that acts to induce apoptosis of cancer cells via the stabilization of microtubules. Phase I clinical trials have employed various dosing schedules ranging from daily to weekly to 3-weekly. Dose-limiting toxicites included neuropathy and neutropenia. Responses were seen in a variety of tumor types. Phase II studies verified activity in taxane-refractory metastatic breast cancer. The FDA has approved ixabepilone for use as monotherapy and in combination with capecitabine for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Ixabepilone is an efficacious option for patients with refractory metastatic breast cancer. The safety profile is similar to that of taxanes, with neuropathy and neutropenia being dose-limiting. Studies are ongoing with the use of both iv and oral formulations and in combination with other chemotherapeutic and biologic agents.
PMCID: PMC2721395  PMID: 19707381
ixabepilone; epothilone; metastatic breast cancer; taxane-refractory
23.  Novel Functional Assay for Spindle-Assembly Checkpoint by Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Activity to Predict Taxane Chemosensitivity in Breast Tumor Patient 
Journal of Cancer  2013;4(9):697-702.
Taxanes are among the drugs most commonly used for preoperative chemotherapy for breast cancer. Taxanes induce mitotic arrest and subsequent apoptosis. The spindle-assembly checkpoint (SAC) is known to be activated during mitosis, along with cyclin-dependent kinase-1 (CDK1), and is required for taxane-induced cell death. We hypothesized that CDK1 activity predicts response to taxane-containing chemotherapy.
This study included breast cancer patients who received preoperative chemotherapy— taxane-containing treatment followed by anthracycline-based treatment—and then underwent surgery. Before starting taxane-containing chemotherapy, patients underwent fine-needle aspiration biopsy, and the biopsy samples were incubated in paclitaxel solution to measure CDK activity. Clinical were evaluated after taxane therapy, and pathological resposes were evaluated after completion of all preoperative chemotherapy. Thirty five patients were eligible for analysis of clinical response to taxane-containing therapy. Twenty-six patients had taxane-sensitive and 9 taxane-resistant tumors.
Using a cut-off of CDK activity determined by the ROC analysis, patients were classified into SAC function and dysfunction groups. Univariate logistic regression analysis with clinicopathologic parameters showed that only CDK-based SAC functionality was significantly correlated with clinical response (P =0.017). No significant correlation was observed between SAC functionality and pathologic response.
CDK-based SAC functionality significantly predicted clinical response (P =.0072, overall agreement = 71.4%), and this is a unique mechanism-based marker for predicting taxane chemosensitivity. Further, large prospective study is needed to determine CDK-based SAC functionality could be developed as a predictive biomarker.
PMCID: PMC3842438  PMID: 24312139
chemosensitivity prediction; cyclin-dependent kinase; preoperative chemotherapy; spindle-assembly checkpoint; taxane
24.  Cisplatin improves antitumor activity of weekly nab-paclitaxel in patients with metastatic breast cancer 
Although nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel (nab-paclitaxel) is approved to be given every 3 weeks, weekly use of this drug is becoming a new standard of care in patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). This prospective Phase II study was conducted to improve the efficacy of weekly nab-paclitaxel with cisplatin in MBC patients. Seventy-three women with recurrent or MBC were eligible for participation. Nab-paclitaxel was administered weekly at a dose of 125 mg/m2 on day 1, day 8, and day 15, followed by cisplatin 75 mg/m2 on day 1, repeated every 28 days with a maximum of 6 cycles. The primary objective was investigator-assessed overall response rate (ORR). A high ORR of 67.1% was obtained, with rates of 80.6% for the first-line patients and 80% for patients not pretreated with taxanes. Among those who had objective responses, a large percentage of patients (83.7%) showed quickly remarkable tumor shrinkage during the first two cycles. The median progression-free and overall survival times were 9.8 and 26.9 months, respectively. For the patients receiving first-, second-, and third-line therapy or beyond, median progression-free survival was 11.7, 7.7, and 7.6 months, respectively (P=0.005). Molecular subtype was not significantly associated with ORR or disease progression. Grade 4 neutropenia occurred in 46 patients (63.0%), with febrile neutropenia found in 9 patients (12.3%). Grade 3 peripheral neuropathy was an accumulated dose-limiting toxicity occurring in 19 patients (26.0%). Efficacy of weekly nab-paclitaxel can be improved by adding cisplatin. The doublet is highly effective, with quick response, manageable toxicity, and possible equivalence across molecular subtypes in MBC patients.
PMCID: PMC3964033  PMID: 24672237
metastatic breast cancer; nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel; cisplatin; taxane-pretreated
25.  Management of advanced breast cancer with the epothilone B analog, ixabepilone 
Despite the activity of standard chemotherapies in advanced breast cancer, disease progression remains inevitable. Most patients exposed to anthracyclines and taxanes develop resistance and a significant subset shows primary resistance. The increasing use of these agents as adjuvant therapy may result in more anthracycline- and taxane-resistant patients in the metastatic setting; few treatment options are available for patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) resistant to multiple chemotherapies. The heterogeneity of breast cancer represents another therapeutic challenge. Breast cancers may be classified as luminal, human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2)-positive, or estrogen receptor-, progesterone receptor-, and human epidermal growth factor 2-negative (ER/PR/HER2-negative, triple negative). HER2-positive and ER/PR/HER2-negative tumors are associated with poor prognosis owing to aggressive disease and poor long-term response to therapy. The epothilone B analog ixabepilone has low susceptibility to multiple mechanisms of resistance and has demonstrated activity in patients with MBC resistant to anthracyclines, taxanes, and/or capecitabine. Ixabepilone is the first epothilone to be approved, as monotherapy or in combination with capecitabine, for treatment of resistant/refractory MBC or locally advanced breast cancer. Treatment with ixabepilone is an option for patients with ER/PR/HER2-negative or HER2-positive disease and/or primary resistance to taxanes.
PMCID: PMC2769224  PMID: 19920932
breast cancer; drug resistance; epothilone; HER2-positive; ixabepilone; ER/PR/HER2-negative (triple negative)

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