Introduction: Chemotherapy eliminates most of the cancer cells except those with potential for self-renewal and tumor initiation, called cancer stem cells (CSCs). Chloroquine, through bioinformatics, was found to be a potential agent to target CSCs. We designed a phase II trial to test the efficacy and safety of chloroquine in combination with taxane or taxane-like chemotherapy agents in patients with advanced or metastatic breast cancer who are refractory to anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Patients and Methods: Female patients ≥ 18 years of age who had received prior anthracycline chemotherapy were enrolled in this study. Chloroquine 250 mg was given daily orally with either docetaxel or paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel or ixabepilone every 3 weeks. The maximum number of 3-week cycles allowed was 6. The primary efficacy endpoint was the objective response rate (ORR). The secondary efficacy endpoints included progression-free survival (PFS) and safety analysis. Results: Thirty-eight patients were enrolled in the study, and 31 patients were evaluated for response. The median age was 54.1 years (range, 31.7-78.1 years). The ORR was 45.16% (95% confidence interval [CI], 29.2%-62.2%), which was higher than the expected ORR of 30% (P =.03). Patients were followed for a median of 25.4 months and experienced a median PFS of 12.4 months (95% CI, 4.9-24.6 months) and a median OS of 25.4 months (95% CI, 13.7-83.5 months). The combination was well-tolerated, with only 13.15% of patients experiencing grade ≥ 3 adverse events. Conclusion: A combination of chloroquine with taxane or taxane-like chemotherapy was efficacious in patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer with prior anthracycline-based chemotherapy.
- Cancer stem cells
- Triple negative breast cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research