Netupitant/palonosetron (NEPA) and dexamethasone for prevention of emesis in breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant anthracycline plus cyclophosphamide: a multi-cycle, phase II study

Roberta Caputo, Marina Elena Cazzaniga, Andrea Sbrana, Rosalba Torrisi, Ida Paris, Monica Giordano, Vincenzo Montesarchio, Valentina Guarneri, Laura Amaducci, Domenico Bilancia, Giuseppina Cilenti, Alessandra Fabi, Elena Collovà, Alessio Schirone, Erminio Bonizzoni, Luigi Celio, Sabino De Placido, Michelino De Laurentiis

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BACKGROUND: NEPA is an oral fixed-dose combination of netupitant, a new highly selective neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist, and palonosetron. This study was conducted to evaluate whether the efficacy of NEPA against chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in cycle 1 would be maintained over subsequent chemotherapy cycles in breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant anthracycline plus cyclophosphamide (AC). The study also describes the relationship between efficacy on day 1 through 5 (overall period) and control of CINV on day 6 through 21 (very late period) in each cycle. METHODS: In this multicentre, phase II study, patients received both NEPA and dexamethasone (12 mg intravenously) just before chemotherapy. The primary efficacy endpoint was overall complete response (CR; no emesis and no rescue medication use) in cycle 1. Sustained efficacy was evaluated during the subsequent cycles by calculating the rate of CR in cycles 2-4 and by assessing the probability of sustained CR over multiple cycles. The impact of both overall CR and risk factors for CINV on the control of very late events (vomiting and moderate-to-severe nausea) were also examined. RESULTS: Of the 149 patients enrolled in the study, 139 were evaluable for a total of 552 cycles; 97.8% completed all 4 cycles. The proportion of patients with an overall CR was 70.5% (90% CI, 64.1 to 76.9) in cycle 1, and this was maintained in subsequent cycles. The cumulative percentage of patients with a sustained CR over 4 cycles was 53%. NEPA was well tolerated across cycles. In each cycle, patients with CR experienced a significantly better control of very late CINV events than those who experienced no CR. Among the patients with CR, the only predictor for increased likelihood of developing very late CINV was pre-chemotherapy (anticipatory) nausea (adjusted odds ratio = 0.65-0.50 for no CINV events on cycles 3 and 4). CONCLUSION: The high anti-emetic efficacy seen with the NEPA regimen in the first cycle was maintained over multiple cycles of adjuvant AC for breast cancer. Preliminary evidence also suggests that patients achieving a CR during the overall period gain high protection even against very late CINV events in each chemotherapy cycle. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was retrospectively registered at identifier (NCT03862144) on 05/Mar/2019.
Original languageEnglish
Article number232
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 19 2020


  • AC
  • Breast cancer
  • CINV
  • Nausea
  • NEPA
  • Vomiting


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