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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1996;38(1):65-70.

Trifluoperazine as a modulator of multidrug resistance in refractory breast cancer.

Author information

1
Yale Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Abstract

Overexpression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) has been implicated as the mechanism of multidrug resistance (MDR) in a number of human cancers, including carcinoma of the breast. We conducted a clinical trial to determine whether the P-gp inhibitor, trifluoperazine, could sensitize patients with refractory breast cancer to vinblastine chemotherapy. Adult patients with histologically confirmed, refractory, advanced breast cancer were treated with vinblastine at a dose of 1.7 mg/m2 per day by continuous infusion for five consecutive days. Patients who did not respond after two cycles were subsequently treated with vinblastine plus trifluoperazine at a dose of 8 mg twice daily during the five days of chemotherapy. In patients from whom tumor samples were available, the expression of P-gp was determined by immunocytochemistry. Of 35 patients enrolled, 30 were evaluable, 2 of whom (7%) achieved a partial response to vinblastine alone. Among the 16 patients treated with vinblastine plus trifluoperazine there was one response (6%) which lasted 16 weeks. Tumor samples were available from 16 patients, and 14 (87%) were immunoreactive for P-pg. P_pg expression was detected both in the patient who responded to vinblastine plus trifluoperazine and in one of the two patients who responded to vinblastine alone. Continuous-infusion vinblastine demonstrated limited activity in this study. Furthermore, trifluoperazine did not effectively reverse established resistance to vinblastine. This failure may be related the presence of multiple mechanisms of drug resistance in the heavily pretreated population, or because ineffective concentrations of the modulator were achieved in vivo. Future studies should evaluate more effective modulators, and attempt to reverse MDR earlier in the course of treatment, before other forms of resistance can develop.

PMID:
8603454
DOI:
10.1007/s002800050449
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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