Anthracyclines Strike Back: Rediscovering Non-Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin in Current Therapeutic Scenarios of Breast Cancer

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Sep 1;13(17):4421. doi: 10.3390/cancers13174421.


Anthracyclines are among the most active chemotherapies (CT) in breast cancer (BC). However, cardiotoxicity is a risk and peculiar side effect that has been limiting their use in clinical practice, especially after the introduction of taxanes. Non-pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (NPLD) has been developed to optimize the toxicity profile induced by anthracyclines, while maintaining its unquestionable therapeutic index, thanks to its delivering characteristics that increase its diffusion in tumor tissues and reduce it in normal tissues. This feature allows NPLD to be safely administered beyond the standard doxorubicin maximum cumulative dose of 450-480 mg/m2. Following three pivotal first-line phase III trials in HER2-negative metastatic BC (MBC), this drug was finally approved in combination with cyclophosphamide in this specific setting. Given the increasing complexity of the therapeutic scenario of HER2-negative MBC, we have carefully revised the most updated literature on the topic and dissected the potential role of NPLD in the evolving therapeutic algorithms.

Keywords: anthracyclines; breast cancer; hormone receptor; metastatic; non-pegylated liposomal doxorubicin; triple negative.

Publication types

  • Review