Second-line endocrine therapy (ET) for estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is offered based on the response to first-line ET. However, no clinical trials have evaluated the efficacy and safety of secondary ETs in patients with poor responses to initial ET. This study evaluated the efficacy of second-line ET in ER-positive and HER2-negative postmenopausal MBC patients with low or very low sensitivity to initial ET.
This multicenter prospective observational cohort study evaluated the response of 49 patients to second-line ETs in postmenopausal MBC patients with low or very low sensitivity to initial ET. The primary endpoint was the clinical benefit rate (CBR) for 24 weeks.
Of the 49 patients assessed, 40 (82%) received fulvestrant in the second line, 5 (10%) received selective estrogen receptor modulators, 3 (6%) received aromatase inhibitors (AIs) alone, and 1 received everolimus with a steroidal AI. The overall CBR was 44.9% [90% confidence interval (CI): 34.6–57.6, p = 0.009]; CBR demonstrated similar significance across the progesterone receptor-positive (n = 39, 51.3%, 90% CI: 39.6–65.2, p = 0.002), very low sensitivity (n = 17, 58.8%, 90% CI: 42.0–78.8, p = 0.003), and non-visceral metastases (n = 25, 48.0%, 90% CI: 34.1–65.9, p = 0.018) groups. The median progression-free survival was 7.1 months (95% CI: 5.6–10.6).
Second-line ET might be a viable treatment option for postmenopausal patients with MBC with low and very low sensitivity to initial ET. Future studies based on larger and independent cohorts are needed to validate these findings.
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This study was conducted as a research support project of the General Incorporated Association of Comprehensive Support Project for Oncological Research of Breast Cancer (CSPOR-BC). We would like to thank Editage (www.editage.com) for English language editing.
This study was funded by AstraZeneca.
Conflict of interest
TI, TF, TShien, KA, KS, TSangai, ST, RN, TA, HM, and NT declare no conflict of interest. YK received an honorarium from Eizai, Chugai, Novartis, Taiho, Pfizer, and Eli Lilly. MT received an honorarium from AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Eizai, and Pfizer, and research funding from Eizai, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, Taiho, and Nippon kayaku.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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Iwamoto, T., Fujisawa, T., Shien, T. et al. The efficacy of sequential second-line endocrine therapies (ETs) in postmenopausal estrogen receptor-positive and HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer patients with lower sensitivity to initial ETs. Breast Cancer 27, 973–981 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12282-020-01095-y
- Metastatic breast cancer
- Endocrine therapies
- Estrogen receptor-positive