Eribulin Is as Good as Capecitabine in Metastatic Breast Cancer

The gist: In a recent clinical trial with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer patients, women who took the drug eribulin did just as well as women who took capecitabine.  The results were particularly strong for women with triple-negative breast cancer. All women in the trial had received previous treatment with anthracycline- or taxane-based chemotherapy. More research is planned to determine just how beneficial eribulin might be.

“An international research team, led by Dartmouth’s Peter A. Kaufman, MD, published findings in the Journal of Clinical Oncology demonstrating that, while not superior to capecitabine, eribulin is an active and well-tolerated therapy in women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) receiving this therapy as a first, second, or third line chemotherapy regimen. Additionally, these patients had all been previously treated with both an anthracycline and a taxane in either the adjuvant or metastatic setting. This study is the first to address the use of eribulin early in the course of metastatic breast cancer, specifically either the first or second line setting.

” ‘Additionally, it is of great interest that subset analysis suggests that eribulin may be particularly active and effective in triple negative MBC, which is known to be an aggressive subset of breast cancer, and one associated unfortunately with a particularly poor prognosis overall,’ said Kaufman.

“Eribulin has been approved in numerous countries in the third line or latter setting for the treatment of MBC, and is increasingly widely used. It is the only chemotherapeutic agent shown to have a survival benefit for patients with MBC in the third line or latter chemotherapeutic setting. Given previous research findings, and now findings from this large international trial, there has been great interest from oncologists and other clinicians in the potential impact that eribulin might have earlier in the course of MBC.”