Concurrent celecoxib with 5-fluorouracil/epirubicin/cyclophosphamide followed by docetaxel for stages II - III invasive breast cancer: the OOTR-N001 study

Louis W C Chow, Stewart Y Tung, Ting-Ying Ng, Seock-Ah Im, Min-Hyuk Lee, Adrian Y S Yip, Masakazu Toi, Stefan Glück
Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs 2013, 22 (3): 299-307

OBJECTIVES: This prospective study aimed at investigating the efficacy and safety of the concurrent use of celecoxib (CXB) with 5-fluorouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide (FEC), followed by docetaxel (T) in the neoadjuvant setting.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 64 invasive breast cancer patients were recruited in the N001 Phase II, multicenter, open-label, single-arm study to receive four cycles of FEC (500, 100, 500 mg/m(2)) followed by four cycles of T (100 mg/m(2)) with concurrent CXB (200 mg b.i.d.) as neoadjuvant therapy (NAT). The combined chemotherapies were administered on day 1 of each cycle every 3 weeks. Primary endpoints were pathologic complete response (pCR) rate and objective response rate (ORR). Quasi-pCR (QpCR), pCR and near pCR (npCR) were discussed considering their similar survival outcomes. ORR included clinical complete response (cCR) and clinical partial response (cPR). Secondary endpoints included safety, breast conservation rate and disease-free survival.

RESULTS: Between February 2006 and January 2010, 57 of 64 evaluable patients with luminal A (n = 35, 61.4%), luminal B (n = 12, 21.1%), HER-2 positive (n = 8, 14%) and triple-negative (n = 2, 3.5%) breast cancer completed NAT and surgery. QpCR rate was observed in 18 (31.6%) patients. Exclusive of triple-negative subtype, pCR (p = 0.761) did not differ compared to other subtypes, while npCR (p = 0.043) exhibited a difference. Patients with HER-2 overexpression had a significantly higher QpCR than those of the disease attribute (10/20 vs 8/37, p = 0.029). After NAT, 43 (75.4%) and 13 (22.8%) patients achieved cCR and cPR, respectively. Patients responding to FEC were more likely to achieve a better ORR after subsequent T (p = 0.004). Over 80% of all patients received breast-conserving therapy (BCT) after receiving NAT, and 11 of 14 (78.6%) patients with T3 tumor at diagnosis became eligible for BCT after NAT. A total of 60 patients completed ≥ 6 cycles of NAT, followed by surgery; at a median follow-up of 50 months, 80% of the patients are disease-free. Neither drug-induced life-threatening toxicity nor cardiotoxicity was observed.

CONCLUSIONS: Neoadjuvant use of FEC-T with concurrent CXB is active and safe for treatment of operable invasive breast cancer. The ORR was higher, but QpCR was comparable to other studies. Most patients are still disease-free, and BCT became an option for the females. Further clinical and translational studies on the use of cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors with neoadjuvant chemotherapy are warranted.

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