Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

Double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter, randomized, phase IIb neoadjuvant study of letrozole-lapatinib in postmenopausal hormone receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative, operable breast cancer.

PMID 24590635


This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study aimed to evaluate the clinical and biologic effects of letrozole plus lapatinib or placebo as neoadjuvant therapy in hormone receptor (HR) -positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -negative operable breast cancer. Ninety-two postmenopausal women with stage II to IIIA primary breast cancer were randomly assigned to preoperative therapy consisting of 6 months of letrozole 2.5 mg orally daily plus lapatinib 1,500 mg orally daily or placebo. Surgery was performed within 2 weeks from the last study medication. Clinical response was assessed by ultrasonography. Pre- and post-treatment samples were evaluated for selected biomarkers. Fresh-frozen tissue samples were collected for genomic analyses. Numerically similar clinical response rates (partial + complete response) were observed (70% for letrozole-lapatinib and 63% for letrozole-placebo). Toxicities were generally mild and manageable. A significant decrease in Ki-67 and pAKT expression from baseline to surgery was observed in both arms. Overall, 34 patients (37%) had a mutation in PIK3CA exon 9 or 20. In the letrozole-lapatinib arm, the probability of achieving a clinical response was significantly higher in the presence of PIK3CA mutation (objective response rate, 93% v 63% in PIK3CA wild type; P = .040). The combination of letrozole-lapatinib in early breast cancer was feasible, with expected and manageable toxicities. In unselected estrogen receptor-positive/HER2-negative patients, letrozole-lapatinib and letrozole-placebo resulted in a similar overall clinical response rate and similar effect on Ki-67 and pAKT. Our secondary end point findings of a significant correlation between PIK3CA mutation and response to letrozole-lapatinib in HR-positive/HER2-negative early breast cancer must now be independently confirmed.

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