Breast cancer research and treatment

The intracellular histamine antagonist, N,N-diethyl-2-[4-(phenylmethyl)phenoxy] ethamine.HCL, may potentiate doxorubicin in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer: Results of a pilot study.

PMID 9694612


N,N-diethyl-2-[4-(phenylmethyl)phenoxy] ethanamine.HCl (DPPE) is a diphenylmethane analog of tamoxifen that antagonizes the intracellular binding of histamine to growth-regulatory sites, a proportion of which represents P450 enzymes, in microsomes and nuclei. We previously reported increased response rates and decreased myelotoxicity in patients with prostate and other cancers who received an intensive dose/schedule of DPPE plus single-agent chemotherapy. We now report the results of a study of DPPE combined with a standard dose/schedule of doxorubicin in twenty-three patients with metastatic breast cancer, sixteen of whom had received prior non-anthracycline chemotherapy. DPPE (6 mg/kg) was infused intravenously (i.v.) over 80 minutes. Doxorubicin (60 mg/m2) was administered i.v. over the last 20 minutes of the DPPE infusion. Treatment was repeated every 3 weeks (maximum, 7 cycles). Patients achieving complete response (CR) were followed off treatment until relapse. All patients were evaluable for toxicities and efficacy. Sixteen patients (69%; 95% C.I. = 47-87%) responded (7 CR and 9 PR). Eleven responders, including 6 with CR, had prior chemotherapy. Five responders (2CR, 3PR) had a poor (ECOG 3/4) performance status pre-treatment. Median CR duration was 11 (range 5-18) months. Hematological toxicity was low; GI toxicity (nausea/vomiting/dyspepsia) appeared somewhat higher than historical experience, but responded well to anti-emetics, ranitidine, and/or dexamethasone in most patients; a mean absolute drop in left ventricular ejection fraction of 8% occurred in 17 patients who received = or > 300 mg/m2 doxorubicin. The observed response rate in DPPE/doxorubicin-treated patients appeared to be higher than historically reported for doxorubicin alone in this setting, suggesting a chemopotentiating effect of DPPE. A multi-centre trial of this regimen in an additional 32 patients with early metastatic breast cancer has been conducted by the Clinical Trials Group, National Cancer Institute of Canada, and a phase 3 study is planned.

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DPPE hydrochloride, ≥98% (HPLC)