The role of capecitabine, an oral, enzymatically activated fluoropyrimidine, in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.

Capecitabine is an oral fluoropyrimidine that mimics continuous infusion 5-fluorouracil and generates 5-fluorouracil preferentially at the tumor site. It is activated via a three-step enzymatic pathway, the final step of which requires thymidine phosphorylase, an enzyme that is significantly more active in tumor than normal tissue. As an oral agent, capecitabine is more convenient for patients and medical personnel, and avoids the complications associated with venous access. This paper reviews the development and clinical experience of capecitabine in breast cancer treatment. Clinical trials have established the efficacy and tolerability of capecitabine in anthracycline- and taxane-pretreated metastatic breast cancer, showing that capecitabine is an effective therapy for patients who have exhausted all established treatment options. Moreover, randomized, phase II studies have demonstrated that capecitabine is effective in anthracycline-pretreated patients and as first-line therapy for metastatic breast cancer. In addition to its confirmed efficacy, the favorable safety profile of capecitabine, particularly the low myelosuppression rate, makes it an attractive agent for incorporation into combination regimens. Therefore numerous trials have assessed the feasibility of capecitabine-containing regimens, and have shown promising results. Capecitabine is an important new treatment option for breast cancer patients, and ongoing clinical trials should further define its role in a range of settings.
AuthorsJ L Blum
JournalThe oncologist (Oncologist) Vol. 6 Issue 1 Pg. 56-64 ( 2001) ISSN: 1083-7159 [Print] United States
PMID11161228 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Review)
Chemical References
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Capecitabine
  • Fluorouracil
  • Administration, Oral
  • Antineoplastic Agents (administration & dosage, adverse effects, pharmacology)
  • Breast Neoplasms (drug therapy)
  • Capecitabine
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Deoxycytidine (administration & dosage, adverse effects, analogs & derivatives, pharmacology)
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil (analogs & derivatives)
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local (drug therapy)
  • Treatment Outcome

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