According to an article published in the Annals of Oncology, the chemotherapy agent Temodar® (temozolomide) has limited activity in the treatment of patients with breast cancer spread to the brain once they’ve received extensive prior therapy.
One common place that advanced breast cancer spreads is to the brain. Unfortunately, once the cancer has spread to the brain (brain metastasis), there is no known cure. Treatment at this stage is aimed at improving the duration of survival and quality of life for these patients.
Temodar is a chemotherapy agent that is known to pass through the blood–brain barrier, a protective membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Since only select molecules can pass through the blood-brain barrier, Temodar is one of only a few chemotherapy agents able to pass through the barrier. Temodar is currently approved for various types of brain cancers.
Researchers from Canada recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of Temodar in the treatment of women with breast cancer and brain metastasis. This trial included 19 patients; 14 patients had received prior chemotherapy, and 12 had received prior hormone therapy.
- Treatment was well tolerated.
- There was no shrinkage of detectable cancer.
- Three patients achieved disease stabilization; 15 patients had disease progression.
The researchers concluded that Temodar has limited activity in patients with breast cancer that has spread to the brain.
Reference: Trudeau M, Crump M, Charpentier D, et al. Temozolomide in Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC): a Phase II Trial of the National Cancer Institute of Canada-Clinical Trials Group (NCIC-CTG). Annals of Oncology. 2006; 17:952-956.