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. 2002;62(14):2089-126.
doi: 10.2165/00003495-200262140-00012.

Polyethylene Glycol-Liposomal Doxorubicin: A Review of Its Use in the Management of Solid and Haematological Malignancies and AIDS-related Kaposi's Sarcoma


Polyethylene Glycol-Liposomal Doxorubicin: A Review of Its Use in the Management of Solid and Haematological Malignancies and AIDS-related Kaposi's Sarcoma

Miriam Sharpe et al. Drugs. .


Polyethylene glycol (PEG)-liposomal doxorubicin is a formulation of the anthracycline doxorubicin in which the drug is encapsulated in PEG-coated liposomes. This alters the pharmacokinetic properties of doxorubicin, prolonging circulation time and enhancing localisation to tumours. In a large randomised trial, intravenous PEG-liposomal doxorubicin was at least as effective as topotecan in patients with ovarian cancer refractory or sensitive to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Overall response rates of patients with ovarian cancer refractory to platinum- and paclitaxel-based chemotherapy who received the drug ranged from 18.3 to 27.6% in noncomparative clinical trials. PEG-liposomal doxorubicin also has antitumour activity in patients with metastatic breast cancer pretreated with other chemotherapeutic agents. Overall response rates were similar in patients with pretreated metastatic breast cancer who had received PEG-liposomal doxorubicin or two comparator salvage chemotherapy regimens (vinorelbine or mitomycin C plus vinblastine) in an interim analysis of a large randomised study. In patients with advanced AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma, PEG-liposomal doxorubicin monotherapy produced overall response rates ranging from 46 to 77% in randomised trials. The drug was significantly more effective than bleomycin plus vincristine alone or in combination with standard doxorubicin, as measured by tumour response. As a replacement for standard doxorubicin in commonly used combination therapies, PEG-liposomal doxorubicin has shown activity in multiple myeloma and aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in small, preliminary trials. The most common adverse events associated with PEG-liposomal doxorubicin are myelosuppression, palmar-plantar erythrodysaesthesia, stomatitis and nausea. These can be managed by delaying or reducing dosages. Although preliminary trials are promising, the relative cardiotoxicity of PEG-liposomal doxorubicin compared with the standard formulation has not been clearly established.

Conclusions: Monotherapy with PEG-liposomal doxorubicin is effective as a second-line chemotherapy in patients with platinum-refractory ovarian cancer and in patients with metastatic breast cancer. However, as with all chemotherapeutic agents, the benefits of treatment need to be weighed against the agent's tolerability profile. Strong comparative data have helped to establish PEG-liposomal doxorubicin as the first-line treatment option in patients with advanced Kaposi's sarcoma. Anticancer activity has also been observed in studies conducted in small numbers of patients with multiple myeloma or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma receiving PEG-liposomal doxorubicin instead of standard doxorubicin in combination regimens, although further data are needed to confirm the clinical relevance of these findings.

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