Background: Bortezomib (VELCADE) is a potent inhibitor of the 26S proteasome with broad antitumor activity. We performed a phase II study of bortezomib to evaluate its clinical effects in patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Patients and methods: Twelve patients with metastatic breast cancer were treated with bortezomib (VELCADE) at a dosage of 1.5 mg/m(2) administered biweekly for 2 weeks with 1 week of rest in a 21-day cycle. The primary objective was clinical response rate. Toxicity and pharmacodynamics data were also obtained.
Results: No objective responses were observed. One patient had stable disease, and 11 others experienced disease progression. The median survival time was 4.3 months (range, 0.9-37 months). The most common grade 3 or 4 toxicities included fatigue (58%; n = 7) and skin rash (33%; n = 4). The mean inhibition of specific chymotryptic activity was 53.1% (+/- 13.33%). A statistically significant reduction in the plasma interleukin-6 level was seen (P = 0.0354).
Conclusion: Bortezomib was well tolerated but showed limited clinical activity against metastatic breast cancer when used as a single agent. The future development of this agent for the treatment of breast cancer should be guided by in vivo models that optimize activity in combination with other antitumor agents.