Highly Efficacious Nontoxic Preclinical Treatment for Advanced Metastatic Breast Cancer Using Combination Oral UFT-Cyclophosphamide Metronomic Chemotherapy
Metronomic antiangiogenic chemotherapy, the prolonged administration of relatively low drug doses, at close regular intervals with no significant breaks, has been mainly studied at the preclinical level using single chemotherapeutic drugs, frequently in combination with a targeted antiangiogenic drug, and almost always evaluated on primary localized tumors. We tested a “doublet” combination metronomic chemotherapy treatment using two oral drugs, UFT, a 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) prodrug administered by gavage, and cyclophosphamide, for efficacy and toxicity in a new mouse model of advanced, terminal, metastatic human breast cancer. The optimal biological dose of each drug was first determined by effects on levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells as a surrogate marker for angiogenesis, which was assessed to be 15 mg/kg for UFT and 20 mg/kg for cyclophosphamide. A combination treatment was then evaluated in mice with advanced metastatic disease using a serially selected metastatic variant of the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer-cell line, 231/LM2-4. UFT or cyclophosphamide treatment showed only very modest survival advantages whereas a combination of the two resulted in a remarkable prolongation of survival, with no evidence of overt toxicity despite 140 days of continuous therapy, such that a significant proportion of mice survived for over a year. In contrast, this striking therapeutic effect of the combination treatment was not observed when tested on primary orthotopic tumors. We conclude that combination oral low-dose daily metronomic chemotherapy, using cyclophosphamide and UFT, is superior to monotherapy and seems to be a safe and highly effective experimental antimetastatic therapy, in this case, for advanced metastatic breast cancer.