One rationale for the development of new treatment strategies for advanced breast cancer is to provide targeted antineoplastic therapy, while at the same time improving the quality of life of patients. One such drug, capecitabine (Xeloda ®), is an oral fluoropyrimidine 5-fluorouracil carbamate. Capecitabine is converted to 5-fluorouracil primarily in cancer tissue and it has been demonstrated to combine ease of administration, a manageable toxicity profile and potent antineoplastic activity. Capecitabine is widely used in metastatic breast cancer and offers symptom palliation and in combination with docetaxel (Taxotere®) improved survival compared with docetaxel alone. Its toxicity profile includes hand-foot syndrome and stomatitis and diarrhea, whereas its hematologic side effects are mild. Capecitabine has been evaluated as a single agent in women with advanced breast cancer where it offers an overall response rate of 20-30%. Capecitabine is synergistic with other chemotherapeutic agents, such as the taxanes, where it increases the response rate to over 40%. This review will place the available data on the use of capecitabine in metastatic breast cancer as a single agent or as part of a combination regime in context.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)