According to an article recently published in the journal Cancer, the chemotherapy combination including Xeloda® (capecitabine) and Temodar® (temozolomide) provides anticancer activity in patients with breast cancer that has spread to the brain.
The brain is a common location for advanced breast cancer to spread. Unfortunately, long-term survival rates for patients with this stage of disease are not favorable. Patients are often treated with radiation therapy to the whole brain; however, this treatment may contribute to a decreased quality of life as cognitive functions can be compromised.
Since many chemotherapy agents do not pass into the brain, they do not attack cancer cells that have entered the brain. Temodar, on the other hand, is a chemotherapy agent that is able to pass into the brain. Since it tends to be well tolerated, researchers continue to evaluate Temodar in the treatment of cancers that either originate in the brain or spread to the brain from other sites in the body (brain metastasis).
Researchers from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the combination of Xeloda and Temodar in the treatment of patients with brain metastasis from advanced breast cancer. This trial included 24 patients who had multiple areas of cancer spread to their brain. Fourteen patients had newly diagnosed brain metastasis, and 10 patients had brain metastasis that had recurred following prior therapies.
- 18% of patients experienced cancer regression in the brain.
- Half of the patients had continued anticancer responses at eight weeks.
- Half of the patients did not have cancer progression in the brain at three months.
- Among patients who achieved anticancer responses to Xeloda/Temodar, nerve and cognitive function was improved.
The researchers concluded that the treatment combination including Xeloda/Temodar provided anticancer responses and improved nerve and cognitive function among patients with breast cancer and brain metastases.
Patients diagnosed with brain metastases from breast cancer may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participation in a clinical trial further evaluating Xeloda/Temodar or other promising therapeutic options. Two sources of information about ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov) and www.cancerconsultants.com.
Reference: Rivera E, Meyers C, Groves M, et al. Phase I Study of Capecitabine in Combination in Temozolomide in the Treatment of Patients with Brain Metastases from Breast Carcinoma. Cancer. 2006; 107:1348 – 1354.