Single agent vinorelbine as first-line chemotherapy in elderly patients with advanced breast cancer

Antonio Rossi, Cesare Gridelli, Vittorio Gebbia, Gerardo Rosati, Anna Tortoriello, Paolo Maione, Nicola Borsellino, Nestore Rossi, Agata Pisano, Giuseppe Colantuoni, Rosario Vincenzo Iaffaioli, Vincenzo Castaldo, Luigi Manzione

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Background: Breast cancer arises in about 48% of patients (pts) older than 65 years. Chemotherapy is administered to elderly pts with advanced breast cancer (ABC) resistant to hormonal treatment or with visceral metastases. Vinorelbine (VNR), a semisynthetic vinca alkaloid, is active and well-tolerated in ABC reporting, as a single agent, an objective response (OR) rate of 41%-60%. The ELVIS (Elderly Lung cancer Vinorelbine Italian Study) trial demonstrated the tolerability and efficacy of VNR in elderly pts with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (JNCI 91: 66-72, 1999). Materials and Methods: From January 1999 to December 2000, we analysed, retrospectively, our data about single-agent VNR as a first-line chemotherapy in elderly pts (≥ 70 years) with ABC. Twenty-four pts were analysed. VNR was administered at the dose of 30 mg/m2, i.v., days 1 and 8, every 3 weeks for a maximum of 6 cycles. Results: The main toxicity was (% of pts): grade (G) 3-4 neutropenia 25%; G 2 thrombocytopenia 4.1%; G 2 asthenia 25%; G 2-3 constipation 16.6%; and G 1 neurotoxicity 25%. No cycles of chemotherapy were omitted or postponed. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor was administered in 12.5% of a total of 112 cycles. Nine (37.5%) objective responses (2 complete and 7 partial responses) were observed. The median duration of response and survival were 7 and 11 months, respectively. Conclusion: These results suggest that single agent VNR is active and well-tolerated in elderly pts with ABC. Further prospective trials are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1657-1664
Number of pages8
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number2 C
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003


  • Advanced breast cancer
  • Elderly patients
  • Vinorelbine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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