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Breast Cancer Case Studies

Andrew Seidman, MD: Main Indications for Dose Reduction With Eribulin

Andrew Seidman, MD
Published Online:Mar 23, 2016
Christine is a 54-year-old stay-at-home-mother who works part time as a real estate agent. Her medical history is notable for hypertension (well controlled) and surgery for aortic aneurism in 2011.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer with Andrew Seidman, MD and Joyce O'Shaughnessy, MD: Case 1



What are the main indications for dose reduction with eribulin?

When I consider dose reducing eribulin, the reasons that most commonly are encountered are myelosuppression, so a low neutrophil count on the day of treatment, which can also be addressed by the insertion of growth factors, such as G-CSF, Neupogen, or Neulasta. So that's not always a reason for dose reduction.

For me, more commonly the reason for dose reduction is either peripheral neuropathy, which was the most common reason for dose reduction in the randomized trial, but also fatigue. Fatigue is a very difficult symptom to tease out in a population of metastatic breast cancer patients receiving their third line of chemotherapy. 

Fatigue is very mutlidimensional – it could be due to the disease, it could be due to anemia, it could be due to depression, it could be due to a narcotic analgesic, for example. When I ask my patients about fatigue, I try to elicit the timing of this symptom with the administration of chemotherapy. Many of my patients will say "Dr. Seidman, I got my Halaven on Monday and on Wednesday or Thursday I felt like I couldn't get out of bed. Then the next day I was fine." So this temporality with association to chemotherapy is a clue, and sometimes it can be significant enough for me to warrant a dose reduction.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer: Case 1

Christine H is a 54-year-old stay-at-home-mother who works part time as a real estate agent. Medical history is notable for hypertension (well controlled) and surgery for aortic aneurysm in 2011

In September 2013, she presented to her PCP with a right breast lump; mammogram showed a large primary breast mass and two enlarged axillary lymph nodes.

  • She underwent an extent of disease evaluation, which consisted of a chest, abdomen, pelvis, and bone scan, which showed no evidence of distant metastases
  • Ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy of the right breast mass revealed grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma that was ER-, PgR-, and HER2- (triple-negative) with cytokeratin 5/6 staining and 50% Ki67 staining
  • The patient proceeded to right breast mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection in October 2013
  • She had a 4.8cm invasive breast cancer and the axillary lymph node dissection showed 15 positive nodes
  • She underwent adjuvant therapy with doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide (4 cycles), followed up by paclitaxel (4 cycles) and post-mastectomy radiation

At her follow-up in May 2014, the patient showed progression of the right chest wall metastases, and several new liver lesions were detected.

  • She underwent therapy with paclitaxel plus bevacizumab for 5 cycles and her disease stabilized

In December of 2014, she presented with increasing fatigue and chest pain on follow up and her CT scan was consistent with progression of the hepatic metastases, with several new lesions also noted in the lungs; her ECOG performance status (PS) at the time was 1.

  • She underwent therapy with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin and had a partial response after 4 cycles of therapy. After 6 cycles of therapy, she experienced progression
  • Her CBC, liver, and kidney function at the time of progression were within normal limits
  • Her oncologist initiated therapy with eribulin mesylate (1.4 mg/m2 IV on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle)
  • She experienced a partial response. Dose was reduced to 1.1 mg/m2 after she developed grade 3 peripheral neuropathy
  • Her condition improved at the reduced dose and she continues in remission after 4 cycles
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