Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 168, Issue 1, pp 35–41 | Cite as

Characteristics and outcomes of breast cancer patients enrolled in the National Cancer Institute Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program sponsored phase I clinical trials

  • Filipa LynceEmail author
  • Matthew J. Blackburn
  • Ling Cai
  • Heping Wang
  • Larry Rubinstein
  • Pamela Harris
  • Claudine Isaacs
  • Paula R. Pohlmann
Clinical trial



Breast cancer (BC) is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death among women. Given the availability of approved therapies and abundance of phase II and III clinical trials, historically few BC patients have been referred for consideration of participation on a phase I trial. We were interested in determining whether clinical benefit rates differed in patients with BC from other patients enrolled in phase I trials.


We performed a retrospective analysis of all Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) sponsored phase I trials from 1993 to 2012. We report an analysis of demographic variables, rates of response to treatment, grade 4 toxicities, and treatment-related deaths.


De-identified data from 8087 patients were analyzed, with 1,376 having a diagnosis of BC. The median time from initial cancer diagnosis to enrollment in a CTEP-sponsored phase I clinical trial was 614 days for all patients. Breast cancer patients were enrolled on average 790 days after initial diagnosis, while non-BC patients had a median enrollment time of 582 days (p < 0.001). Breast cancer patients had more clinical responses than non-BC patients (18.3% vs. 4.3%, respectively). Along with the higher rate of response, BC patients remained on phase I trials longer than non-BC patients with a median of 70 days while the latter were on trial for a median of 57 days. The overall rate of death related to the treatment drugs was 0.47%.


Our data confirm our hypothesis that when compared to a general population of patients with cancer enrolled on phase I clinical trials, BC patients tend to derive clinical benefit from these therapies with similar toxicity profile. This evidence further supports enrollment of BC patients on phase I trials.


Breast cancer Phase I Clinical trials Outcomes Toxicity 



Adverse events


Breast cancer


Common terminology criteria for adverse events


Cancer therapy evaluation program


Clinical trials monitoring service


Eastern cooperative oncology group


Metastatic breast cancer


Overall survival


Protocol and information office


Performance status


Response evaluation criteria in solid tumors


Recommended phase 2 dose


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10549_2017_4563_MOESM1_ESM.docx (90 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 89 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer CenterMedStar Georgetown University HospitalWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.University of South Carolina School of MedicineColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and BiomathematicsGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Biometric Research Program, Division of Cancer Treatment and DiagnosisNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthRockvilleUSA
  5. 5.Investigational Drug Branch Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program Division of Cancer Treatment and DiagnosisNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthRockvilleUSA
  6. 6.Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer CenterGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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