Background: We characterized patterns of occurrence and the impact of neratinib-associated diarrhea in the absence of protocol-directed antidiarrheal prophylaxis or a formal diarrhea management plan using data from Extended Adjuvant Treatment of Breast Cancer with Neratinib (ExteNET).
Methods: ExteNET is a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized phase III trial involving community-based and academic institutions in 40 countries. Women with HER2-positive early-stage breast cancer with prior standard primary therapy and trastuzumab-based (neo)adjuvant therapy were randomized to neratinib 240 mg/day or placebo for 12 months. Safety, a secondary outcome, was assessed using the National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria version 3.0. Health-related quality of life by diarrhea grade was assessed using Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B).
Results: Two thousand eight hundred sixteen women (1408 per group) were safety-evaluable. Grade 3 and 4 diarrhea occurred in 561 (39.8%) and 1 (0.1%) patients with neratinib versus 23 (1.6%) and 0 patients with placebo, respectively. In the neratinib group, 28.6% of patients had grade 3 events during month 1 decreasing to ≤ 6% after month 3. The median cumulative duration of grade 3/4 diarrhea with neratinib was 5 days (interquartile range, 2-9). Serious diarrheal events (n = 22, 1.6%) and diarrheal events requiring hospitalization (n = 20, 1.4%) were rare with neratinib. Changes in FACT-B total score by diarrhea grade in the neratinib group did not meet the threshold for clinically important differences.
Conclusions: In the absence of antidiarrheal prophylaxis, neratinib-related diarrhea is short-lived and not associated with complications or long-term sequelae. This suggests that targeted preventive management with antidiarrheal prophylaxis early during neratinib treatment is appropriate.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00878709. Registered 9 April 2009.
Keywords: Diarrhea; Early-stage breast cancer; HER2 positive; Health-related quality of life; Neratinib; Pan-HER inhibition; Patient-reported outcomes.