Importance of the field: Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death among women in the USA, and additional effective and well-tolerated chemotherapeutic agents are urgently needed. Eribulin mesylate (E7389), a synthetic analog of the marine macrolide halichondrin B, is a microtubule inhibitor with a unique tubulin binding site and mechanism of action.
Areas covered in this review: Based on a review of the literature between 2005 and 2010, we present a summary of eribulin and its clinical activity, specifically in metastatic breast cancer.
What the reader will gain: The mechanism of action of eribulin, preclinical data indicating antitumor activity of eribulin and data from Phase I and II clinical trials evaluating the efficacy and tolerability of eribulin are presented.
Take home message: Based on data from Phase I and II clinical trials, we conclude that eribulin seems to have efficacy in metastatic breast cancer, even among women with heavily pretreated and taxane-resistant disease. In addition, eribulin has a manageable side-effect profile, consisting mainly of neutropenia and fatigue, and most notably a low incidence of peripheral neuropathy. With these encouraging results, additional Phase II and III studies are ongoing. Eribulin seems to be a promising new agent for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.