Randomized comparison of vinorelbine and melphalan in anthracycline- refractory advanced breast cancer

S. Jones, E. Winer, C. Vogel, L. Laufman, L. Hutchins, M. O'Rourke, B. Lembersky, D. Budman, J. Bigley, J. Hohneker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


Purpose: This prospective multicenter randomized trial was performed to compare the effectiveness and safety of intravenous (IV) vinorelbine tartrate (Navelbine [NVB]; Burroughs Wellcome Co, Research Triangle Park, NC) with IV melphalan (Alkeran [ALK]; Burroughs Wellcome Co) in a heavily pretreated population of patients with anthracycline-refractory advanced breast cancer (ABC). Efficacy end points included time to disease progression (TDP), time to treatment failure (TTF), survival, tumor response rates, and quality of life (QL) and relief of cancer-related symptoms. Patients and Methods: Between August 24, 1990, and December 1, 1992, 183 patients were randomized (2:1) to treatment with NVB (30 mg/m2 weekly) or ALK (25 mg/m2 every 4 weeks) IV. Patients were stratified by measurable or nonmeasurable-assessable disease and by treatment center. Results: Time to disease progression was significantly longer with NVB than with ALK, with a median 12 weeks versus 8 weeks, respectively (P < .001). NVB patients also had significantly longer time to treatment failure than ALK patients, with a median 12 weeks versus 8 weeks, respectively (P < .001). The effect of NVB on survival was also statistically significant (P = .034): 1-year survival rates were 35.7% with NVB and 21.7% with ALK and the median survival rate was 35 weeks and 31 weeks, respectively. In total, 46.5% of NVB patients and 28.2% of ALK patients achieved an objective response or stabilization of disease (P = .06). No intergroup differences were noted in patient-assessed QL and cancer-related symptoms. The most common toxicities were hematologic, including granulocytopenia with NVB and thrombocytopenia and granulocytopenia with ALK. Both drugs were generally well tolerated, and no septic deaths were reported. Conclusion: This randomized trial demonstrates a survival benefit in anthracycline-refractory ABC. NVB was well tolerated and demonstrated activity superior to ALK in anthracycline-refractory ABC, without compromising QL. Based on activity of single-agent NVB in this difficult-to-treat patient population, investigations of NVB in combination with other anticancer drugs are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2567-2574
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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