In the advanced breast cancer, one study has found that if Sorafenib ( Nexavar ) is combined with the chemotherapy drug, Capecitabine ( Xeloda ), it makes a significant difference to the time women live without their disease worsening.
Results showed that patients who received Sorafenib plus Capecitabine had a 74% percent improvement in the time they lived without their disease worsening compared to those who received the chemotherapy alone.
Sorafenib is a multi-kinase inhibitor, which works by interfering with the growth of cancer cells and slowing the growth of new blood vessels within the tumour. Until now, it has only been used in the treatment of kidney and liver cancer.
José Baselga, at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital ( Barcelona, Spain ) and his colleagues in Spain, France and Brazil enrolled 229 patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer in the double-blind, randomised phase II clinical trial between June 2007 and December 2008. They randomised the patients to receive Capecitabine ( 1000 mg/m2 pill taken twice daily for 14 of every 21 days ) and a placebo ( 114 women ), or Capecitabine and Sorafenib ( 400 mg pill taken twice daily continuously) for 115 women.
The first results from the trial showed that the average progression free survival ( the time that elapses without the cancer getting worse ) was 6.4 months for women on Capecitabine and Sorafenib compared to 4.1 months for women taking the placebo. It is too early for data on overall survival to be available. The only death that occurred was in the placebo arm of the trial, attributed to the effect of Capecitabine. The number of patients discontinuing treatment due to adverse side-effects was nine ( 8% ) in the placebo arm and 15 ( 13.4% ) in the Sorafenib arm of the trial.
The regimen was tolerable and the side-effects were mostly manageable. No new or unexpected side effects were observed with this combination. The fact that this treatment could be taken orally may represent a unique and convenient treatment option for patients with breast cancer.
Source: ECCO, 2009
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