Background Eribulin mesylate (E) is indicated for metastatic breast cancer patients previously treated with anthracycline and taxane. We argued that E could also benefit patients eligible for neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Methods Patients with primary triple negative breast cancer 2 cm received doxorubicin 60 mg/m2 and paclitaxel 200 mg/m2 x 4 cycles (AT) followed by E 1.4 mg/m2 x 4 cycles. Primary endpoint was pathological complete response (pCR) rate; secondary and explorative endpoints included clinical/metabolic response rates and safety, and biomarker analysis, respectively. Using a two-stage Simon design, 43 patients were to be included provided that 4 of 13 patients had achieved pCR in the first stage of the study. Results In stage I of the study 13 women were enrolled, median age 43 years, tumor size 2–5 cm in 9/13 (69%), positive nodal status in 8/13 (61%). Main grade 3 adverse event was neutropenia (related to AT and E in 4 and 2 cases, respectively). AT followed by E induced clinical complete + partial responses in 11/13 patients (85%), pCR in 3/13 (23%). Median measurements of maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) resulted 13, 3, and 1.9 at baseline, after AT and E, respectively. Complete metabolic response (CMR) occurred after AT and after E in 2 and 3 cases, respectively. Notably, 2 of the 5 (40%) patients with CMR achieved pCR at surgery. Immunostaining of paired pre-/post-treatment tumor specimens showed a reduction of β-catenin, CyclinD1, Zeb-1, and c-myc expression, in the absence of N-cadherin modulation. The study was interrupted at stage I due to the lack of the required patients with pCR. Conclusions Despite the early study closure, preoperative E following AT showed clinical and biological activity in triple negative breast cancer patients. Furthermore, the modulation of β-catenin pathway core proteins, supposedly outside the domain of epithelial–mesenchymal transition, claims for further investigation. Trial registration EU Clinical Trial Register, EudraCT number 2012-004956-12.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)