Safety and efficacy of two different doses of capecitabine in the treatment of advanced breast cancer in older women

Emilio Bajetta, Giuseppe Procopio, Luigi Celio, Luca Gattinoni, Silvia Della Torre, Luigi Mariani, Laura Catena, Riccardo Ricotta, Raffaella Longarini, Nicoletta Zilembo, Roberto Buzzoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of capecitabine in older women with advanced breast cancer. Patients and Methods: Seventy-three eligible patients (median age, 73 years; range, 65 to 89 years) were enrolled. The first 30 patients received oral capecitabine 1,250 mg/m2 twice daily on days 1 to 14 every 21 days. Due to the occurrence of two toxic deaths, capecitabine 1,000 mg/m2 twice daily was given to the subsequent 43 patients. Results: All patients were assessable for safety and efficacy. A total of 351 treatment cycles were administered (median, six per patient; range, one to eight cycles). Dose reductions due to toxicities were required in 30% of patients in the standard-dose group, but capecitabine was given without a dose reduction to 95% of patients in the low-dose group. Capecitabine demonstrated a favorable safety profile. The overall incidence of grade 3/4 toxicities was low; the most common events reported in ≤ 10% of the patients were fatigue, diarrhea, dyspnea, and nausea. In the standard-dose group, the response rate was 36.7% (95% CI, 19.9% to 56.1%). An additional seven patients had disease stabilization at ≥ 24 weeks. In the low-dose group, the response rate was 34.9% (95% CI, 21% to 50.9%). An additional 15 patients had prolonged stabilization. The median time to disease progression was 4 months in either group. Conclusion: This study shows that capecitabine is safe and effective in the elderly breast cancer patient. Based on the overall results, the capecitabine dose of 1,000 mg/m2 twice daily merits consideration as "standard" for older patients who do not have severely impaired renal function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2155-2161
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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