Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in women worldwide. For three decades doxorubicin, alone or in combination with other cytotoxic agents, has been a mainstay of systemic therapy for MBC. However, its use is limited by cumulative cardiotoxicity. More recently liposomal formulations of doxorubicin have been developed which exhibit equal efficacy but reduced cardiotoxicity in comparison to conventional doxorubicin. The novel toxicity profile of liposomal doxorubicins has prompted their evaluation with various cytotoxic agents in patients with MBC. In addition, their favorable cardiac safety profile has prompted re-evaluation of concomitant therapy with doxorubicin and trastuzumab, a regimen of proven efficacy in MBC but previously considered to be associated with significant cardiotoxicity. We review clinical trial data addressing combination therapy with both pegylated and non-pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in patients with MBC.
Keywords: anthracycline; breast cancer; cardiotoxicity; liposome-encapsulated doxorubicin; pegylated liposomal doxorubicin.