Background: Liver metastasis from breast cancer has a poor prognosis. While there are some reports of good response rates of hepatic metastasis from breast cancer by hepatic intra-arterial infusion chemotherapy, no phase I study including pharmacokinetic analysis has been reported. We performed a phase I/II study of intra-arterial infusion chemotherapy using adriamycin and 5-fluorouracil to find the maximum tolerated dose and response rate in patients with advanced or recurrent breast cancer.
Methods: A hepatic arterial catheter with an access port was inserted into the proper hepatic artery. Patients received 30 mg/m2 adriamycin on days 1 and 8 and 100 mg/m2 5-fluorouracil at level 1, 200 mg/m2 at level 2,300 mg/m2 at level 3 and 400 mg/m2 at level 4 continuously from day 1 through day 14 every 28 days. At least two cycles were required before evaluation. Twenty-eight patients were entered into this study and 26 patients were evaluable. Seventeen patients had hepatic metastasis only, although nine patients had additional metastasis to other sites.
Results: Dose-limiting toxicity of thrombocytopenia and neurotoxicity occurred at level 4. Leukocytopenia (ECOG grade 3-4) was observed in five (19%), thrombocytopenia in three (12%) and anemia in two (8%) patients. There were 11 catheter-related complications which were not dose dependent. Seven out of 13 evaluable patients (54%) responded at level 3. The median duration of response was 5.8 months (range, 1-23+) and median survival was 25.3 months (range, 6.2-54.7+).
Conclusion: Hepatic arterial infusion therapy appears to be safe and effective but catheter-related complications must be overcome before starting a phase III trial.