Anthracyclines and taxanes are cytotoxic agents that are commonly used for the treatment of breast cancer, including in the adjuvant, neoadjuvant, and metastatic setting. Each drug class of is associated with cumulative and potentially irreversible toxicity, including cardiomyopathy (anthracyclines) and neuropathy (taxanes). This may either limit the duration of therapy for advanced disease, or prevent retreatment for recurrence if previously used as component of adjuvant or neoadjuvant therapy. Several classes of cytotoxic agents have been evaluated in patients with anthracycline and taxane-pretreated metastatic breast cancer (MBC), including other antitubulins (vinorelbine, ixabepilone, eribulin), antimetabolites (capecitabine, gemcitabine), topoisomerase I inhibitors (irinotecan), platinum analogues (cisplatin, carboplatin), and liposomal doxorubicin preparations. No trials have shown an overall survival advantage for combination chemotherapy in this setting, indicating that single cytotoxic agents should usually be used, expect perhaps in patients with rapidly progressive disease and/or high tumor burden.
Keywords: Anthracycline; Chemotherapy; Cytotoxic agents; Drug resistance; MBC; Metastatic breast cancer; Pretreated; Systemic cytotoxic therapy; Taxane.