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Platinum-based chemotherapy in metastatic breast cancer: current status

      Abstract

      Cisplatin and carboplatin are active in previously untreated patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) with mean response rates (RRs) of 50 and 32%, respectively. In pretreated patients the RR to cisplatin/carboplatin monotherapy declines markedly to <10%. Cisplatin and carboplatin have been combined with many other cytotoxics. In first-line setting high activity has been observed in combination with taxanes or vinorelbine (RRs consistently ∼60%). It appears that these newer combinations are superior to older regimens with etoposide (RRs 30 to 50%) or 5-fluorouracil (RRs 40 to 60%). Cisplatin-/carboplatin-based regimens with infusional 5-FU and epirubicin/paclitaxel/vinorelbine achieve high RRs of around 60 to 80%. However these regimens are difficult to administer in all patients because they require central venous access for continuous 5-FU infusion. In pretreated MBC the combinations of cisplatin–taxane/vinorelbine/gemcitabine or carboplatin–docetaxel/vinorelbine yield RRs of 40 to 50%, which are higher than those achieved with platinum–etoposide/5-FU. In locally advanced disease cisplatin-based regimens achieve very high RRs (>80%). This would suggest that in chemotherapy-naı̈ve patients platinum-based therapy might have an important role to play. Additionally the synergy demonstrated between platinum compounds, taxanes and herceptin, in preclinical and clinical studies is of immense importance and the results of the two ongoing Breast Cancer International Research Group randomized phase III studies are eagerly awaited. These studies may help clarify the role of platinum compounds in the treatment of metastatic and possibly early breast cancer.

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