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Friday 01 June 2001

Topotecan chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer and brain metastases: results of a pilot study.

By: Oberhoff C, Kieback DG, Wurstlein R, Deertz H, Sehouli J, van Soest C, Hilfrich J, Mesrogli M, von Minckwitz G, Staab HJ, Schindler AE.

Onkologie 2001 Jun;24(3):256-60

BACKGROUND: Symptomatic brain metastases occur in approximately 10-15% of patients suffering from breast cancer and are linked to a clear deterioration of the patient's condition. Although radiotherapy is recommended as a primary therapy, the optimal management remains controversial. To evaluate the role of topotecan as a primary chemotherapy for brain metastases, we performed a pilot study in patients with metastatic breast cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: 24 patients with newly diagnosed, bidimensionally measurable brain metastases received topotecan, 1.5 mg/m(2) day, 30-min infusion for 5 days every 3 weeks. A total of 93 courses of therapy were administered (range 1-11, median 3 courses per patient). Prior radiotherapy was excluded. Most of the patients had received prior adjuvant or palliative chemotherapy. RESULTS: 3/24 patients were withdrawn from the study for various reasons, 16/24 patients could be evaluated in terms of their response to therapy; 1 and 5 patients showed complete and partial response to therapy, respectively, and 5 patients had a stable condition. The median time of survival was 6.25 months. Hematologic toxicity was the major side effect, nonhematologic side effects occurred rarely and were tolerable. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that primary chemotherapy with topotecan is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for patients with breast cancer and CNS metastases. Based on this pilot study, future clinical protocols should be developed including multimodal treatment strategies (i.e. radiotherapy). Copyright 2001 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg

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