Phase II trial of topically applied miltefosine solution in patients with skin-metastasized breast cancer

Br J Cancer. 1999 Mar;79(7-8):1158-61. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6690184.


Skin deposits from breast cancer can present serious therapeutic problems, especially when resistant to conventional therapy. Topical application of a cytotoxic drug may represent an attractive new treatment modality devoid of major systemic toxicity. Miltefosine was selected because of its efficacy in breast cancer models. A mixture of alkylated glycerols of various chain lengths and water was used as the pharmaceutical vehicle to dissolve and to further facilitate tissue penetration of miltefosine. In our Institute a phase II study was performed to determine the efficacy and tolerability of topically applied miltefosine in patients with cutaneous metastases from breast cancer. Thirty-three patients in total entered the trial. A 6% miltefosine solution was applied once daily in the first week and twice daily in the following weeks. The planned minimum treatment duration was 8 weeks. We found an overall response rate of 43% for 30 evaluable patients, composed of 23% complete response and 20% partial response. The median response duration was 18 weeks, range 8-68. Toxicity consisted mainly of localized skin reactions, which could be controlled by a paraffin-based skin cream and, where appropriate, by dose modification. No systemic toxicities were observed. We conclude that topical miltefosine is an effective treatment modality in patients with skin metastases from breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles
  • Phosphorylcholine / administration & dosage
  • Phosphorylcholine / adverse effects
  • Phosphorylcholine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / secondary*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles
  • Phosphorylcholine
  • miltefosine