Randomized phase II, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of exemestane with or without entinostat in postmenopausal women with locally recurrent or metastatic estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer progressing on treatment with a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor

Denise A. Yardley, Roohi R. Ismail-Khan, Bohuslav Melichar, Mikhail Lichinitser, Pamela N. Munster, Pamela M. Klein, Scott Cruickshank, Kathy D. Miller, Min J. Lee, Jane B. Trepel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

226 Scopus citations


Purpose: Entinostat is an oral isoform selective histone deacetylase inhibitor that targets resistance to hormonal therapies in estrogen receptor–positive (ER+) breast cancer. This randomized, placebo-controlled, phase II study evaluated entinostat combined with the aromatase inhibitor exemestane versus exemestane alone. Patients and Methods: Postmenopausal women with ER+ advanced breast cancer progressing on a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor were randomly assigned to exemestane 25 mg daily plus entinostat 5 mg once per week (EE) or exemestane plus placebo (EP). The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). Blood was collected in a subset of patients for evaluation of protein lysine acetylation as a biomarker of entinostat activity. Results: One hundred thirty patients were randomly assigned (EE group, n = 64; EP group, n = 66). Based on intent-to-treat analysis, treatment with EE improved median PFS to 4.3 months versus 2.3 months with EP (hazard ratio [HR], 0.73; 95% CI, 0.50 to 1.07; one-sided P = .055; two-sided P = .11 [predefined significance level of .10, one-sided]). Median overall survival was an exploratory end point and improved to 28.1 months with EE versus 19.8 months with EP (HR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.36 to 0.97; P = .036). Fatigue and neutropenia were the most frequent grade 3/4 toxicities. Treatment discontinuation because of adverse events was higher in the EE group versus the EP group (11% v 2%). Protein lysine hyperacetylation in the EE biomarker subset was associated with prolonged PFS. Conclusion: Entinostat added to exemestane is generally well tolerated and demonstrated activity in patients with ER+ advanced breast cancer in this signal-finding phase II study. Acetylation changes may provide an opportunity to maximize clinical benefit with entinostat. Plans for a confirmatory study are underway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2128-2135
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Jun 10 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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