Purpose: In breast cancer models, combination epigenetic therapy with a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor and a histone deacetylase inhibitor led to reexpression of genes encoding important therapeutic targets, including the estrogen receptor (ER). We conducted a multicenter phase II study of 5-azacitidine and entinostat in women with advanced hormone-resistant or triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Experimental Design: Patients received 5-azacitidine 40 mg/m2 (days 1–5, 8–10) and entinostat 7 mg (days 3, 10) on a 28-day cycle. Continuation of epigenetic therapy was offered with the addition of endocrine therapy at the time of progression [optional continuation (OC) phase]. Primary endpoint was objective response rate (ORR) in each cohort. We hypothesized that ORR would be ≥20% against null of 5% using Simon two-stage design. At least one response was required in 1 of 13 patients per cohort to continue accrual to 27 per cohort (type I error, 4%; power, 90%).
Results: There was one partial response among 27 women with hormone-resistant disease (ORR = 4%; 95% CI, 0–19), and none in 13 women with TNBC. One additional partial response was observed in the OC phase in the hormone-resistant cohort (n = 12). Mandatory tumor samples were obtained pre- and posttreatment (58% paired) with either up- or downregulation of ER observed in approximately 50% of posttreatment biopsies in the hormone-resistant, but not TNBC cohort.
Conclusions: Combination epigenetic therapy was well tolerated, but our primary endpoint was not met. OC phase results suggest that some women benefit from epigenetic therapy and/or reintroduction of endocrine therapy beyond progression, but further study is needed. Clin Cancer Res; 1–11. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Clinical Cancer Research Online (http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received July 14, 2016.
- Revision received October 27, 2016.
- Accepted November 19, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.