Date of presentation: September 14, 2012
According to results presented at the 2012 Breast Cancer Symposium, the combination of Afinitor® (everolimus; also known as RAD001) and carboplatin may provide a benefit in metastatic, triple-negative breast cancer. A small Phase 2 clinical trial leads to that conclusion, and more study is needed.
Targeted therapies are drugs that interfere with specific biological pathways that contribute to cancer growth. The identification of effective targeted therapies for triple-negative breast cancer is an important research priority. In addition to developing new drugs specifically for this type of cancer, it’s possible that some existing drugs that have been approved for other purposes may also provide a benefit against triple-negative breast cancer.
Afinitor is a targeted therapy that works by inhibiting a protein known as mTOR. The mTOR protein plays an important role in regulating cancer cell division and blood vessel growth. Currently, Afinitor is used for the treatment of selected patients with kidney cancer, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA), and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.
To evaluate the combination of Afinitor and carboplatin (a chemotherapy drug) among women with triple-negative breast cancer, researchers are conducting a Phase II clinical trial among 25 women with metastatic, triple-negative breast cancer. Study participants are allowed to have received up to three prior chemotherapy regimens.
- 38% of women had a clinical benefit (a partial or complete disappearance of detectable cancer, or cancer that remained stable for at least six months).
- One of the potentially serious side effects of treatment is a reduction in blood cell counts. Dose adjustments over the course of the study reduced the frequency of this side effect.
These results suggest that the combination of Afinitor and carboplatin may provide a benefit among women with metastatic, triple-negative breast cancer.