Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 185–189 | Cite as

Second-line chemotherapy with long-term low-dose oral etoposide in patients with advanced breast cancer

  • M. Bontenbal
  • A. S. Th. Planting
  • J. Verweij
  • R. de Wit
  • W. H. J. Kruit
  • G. Stoter
  • J. G. M. Klijn
Brief communication


In a phase II study, 27 patients with metastatic breast cancer were treated with oral etoposide as second-line chemotherapy at a dose of 50 mg/m2/day for 21 days, which courses were repeated every 4 weeks. Twenty-one patients were evaluable for response, and twenty-five for toxicity. In two (10%) patients a partial response was observed with a duration of 60 and 122 weeks respectively, and seven patients (33%) showed stable disease. Gastrointestinal toxicity was usually mild, though relatively frequent. Anemia grade II and III was observed in 20% of all courses (< 10% of all measurements), and leukopenia grade III and IV was observed in 22% of all courses (< 10% of all measurements). There was one toxic death.

Reviewing the literature we calculated a response rate of intravenous etoposide treatment of 8% in 276 patients with metastatic breast cancer from 7 studies (response rates ranging between 0–14%), while (chronic) oral treatment caused a response rate of 19% in 145 patients from 8 different studies (response rates ranging between 0–35%).

Key words

breast cancer oral etoposide phase II 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Bontenbal
    • 1
  • A. S. Th. Planting
    • 1
  • J. Verweij
    • 1
  • R. de Wit
    • 1
  • W. H. J. Kruit
    • 1
  • G. Stoter
    • 1
  • J. G. M. Klijn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical OncologyRotterdam Cancer InstituteRotterdamThe Netherlands

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