A phase 2 study of everolimus combined with trastuzumab and paclitaxel in patients with HER2-overexpressing advanced breast cancer that progressed during prior trastuzumab and taxane therapy.
Increased activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway is a common factor in putative mechanisms of trastuzumab resistance, resulting in dysregulation of cell migration, growth, proliferation, and survival. Data from preclinical and phase 1/2 clinical studies suggest that adding everolimus (an oral mTOR inhibitor) to trastuzumab plus chemotherapy may enhance the efficacy of, and restore sensitivity to, trastuzumab-based therapy. In this phase 2 multicenter study, adult patients with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer resistant to trastuzumab and pretreated with a taxane received everolimus 10 mg/day in combination with paclitaxel (80 mg/m(2) days 1, 8, and 15 every 4 weeks) and trastuzumab (4 mg/kg loading dose followed by 2 mg/kg weekly), administered in 28-day cycles. Endpoints included overall response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and safety. Fifty-five patients were enrolled; one remained on study treatment at the time of data cutoff. The median number of prior chemotherapy lines for advanced disease was 3.5 (range 1-11). The ORR was 21.8 %, the clinical benefit rate was 36.4 %, the median PFS estimate was 5.5 months (95 % confidence interval [CI]: 4.99-7.69 months), and the median OS estimate was 18.1 months (95 % CI: 12.85-24.11 months). Hematologic grade 3/4 adverse events (AEs) included neutropenia (25.5 % grade 3, 3.6 % grade 4), anemia (7.3 % grade 3), and thrombocytopenia (5.5 % grade 3, 1.8 % grade 4). Nonhematologic grade 3/4 AEs included stomatitis (20.0 %), diarrhea (5.5 %), vomiting (5.5 %), fatigue (5.5 %), and pneumonia (5.5 %), all grade 3. These findings suggest that the combination of everolimus plus trastuzumab and paclitaxel is feasible, with promising activity in patients with highly resistant HER2-positive advanced breast cancer. This combination is currently under investigation in the BOLERO-1 phase 3 trial.