Background: Longer duration of first-line chemotherapy for patients with metastatic breast cancer is associated with prolonged overall survival and improved progression-free survival. We investigated capecitabine added to maintenance bevacizumab after initial treatment with bevacizumab and docetaxel in this setting.
Methods: We did this open-label randomised phase 3 trial at 54 hospitals in Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Poland, Spain, and Turkey. We enrolled patients with HER2-negative measurable metastatic breast cancer; each received three to six cycles of first-line bevacizumab (15 mg/kg) and docetaxel (75-100 mg/m(2)) every 3 weeks. Progression-free patients were randomly assigned with an interactive voice-response system by block (size four) randomisation (1:1) to receive either bevacizumab and capecitabine or bevacizumab only (bevacizumab 15 mg/kg on day 1; capecitabine 1000 mg/m(2) twice per day on days 1-14, every 3 weeks) until progression, stratified by oestrogen receptor status (positive vs negative), visceral metastases (present vs absent), response status (stable disease vs response vs non-measurable), and lactate dehydrogenase concentration (≤1·5 vs >1·5 × upper limit of normal). Neither patients nor investigators were masked to allocation. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (from randomisation) in the intention-to-treat population. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00929240.
Findings: Between July 16, 2009, and March 7, 2011 (when enrolment was prematurely terminated), 284 patients received initial bevacizumab and docetaxel; 185 (65%) were randomly assigned (91 to bevacizumab and capecitabine versus 94 to bevacizumab only). Progression-free survival was significantly longer in the bevacizumab and capecitabine group than in the bevacizumab only group (median 11·9 months [95% CI 9·8-15·4] vs 4·3 months [3·9-6·8]; stratified hazard ratio 0·38 [95% CI 0·27-0·55]; two-sided log-rank p<0·0001), as was overall survival (median 39·0 months [95% CI 32·3-not reached] vs 23·7 months [18·5-31·7]; stratified HR 0·43 [95% CI 0·26-0·69]; two-sided log-rank p=0·0003). Results for time to progression were consistent with those for progression-free survival. 78 (86%) patients in the bevacizumab and capecitabine group and 72 (77%) in the bevacizumab only group had an objective response. Clinical benefit was recorded in 92 (98%) patients in the bevacizumab alone group and 90 (99%) in the bevacizumab and capecitabine group. Mean change from baseline in global health score did not differ significantly between groups. Grade 3 or worse adverse events during the maintenance phase were more common with bevacizumab and capecitabine than with bevacizumab only (45 [49%] of 91 patients vs 25 [27%] of 92 patients). The most common grade 3 or worse events were hand-foot syndrome (28 [31%] in the bevacizumab and capecitabine group vs none in the bevacizumab alone group), hypertension (eight [9%] vs three [3%]), and proteinuria (three [3%] vs four [4%]). Serious adverse events were reported by ten (11%) patients in the bevacizumab and capecitabine group and seven (8%) patients in the bevacizumab only group.
Interpretation: Despite prematurely terminated accrual and the lack of information about post-progression treatment, both progression-free survival and overall survival were significantly improved with bevacizumab and capecitabine compared with bevacizumab alone as maintenance treatment. These results might inform future maintenance trials and current first-line treatment strategies for HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer.
Funding: F Hoffmann-La Roche.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.