Open Access Open Badges Research article

Single-agent pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer: results of an Austrian observational trial

Michael Fiegl1*, Brigitte Mlineritsch2, Michael Hubalek3, Rupert Bartsch4, Ursula Pluschnig4 and Günther G Steger4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine V/Hematology-Oncoloy, Medical University of Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, Innsbruck, Austria

2 Department of Internal Medicine III, Private Medical University of Salzburg, Müllner Hauptstrasse 48, Salzburg, Austria

3 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Medical University of Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, Innsbruck, Austria

4 Department of Internal Medicine I/Oncology, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, Vienna, Austria

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BMC Cancer 2011, 11:373  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-373

Published: 24 August 2011



In advanced breast cancer, multiple sequential lines of treatments are frequently applied. Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) has a favourable toxicity profile and can be used in first or higher lines of therapy. PLD has demonstrated response activity even after prior anthracycline exposure.


129 consecutive patients with advanced breast cancer, of whom the majority had been massively pretreated, received PLD as monotherapy within licensed approval, for which efficacy and toxicities were documented.


In a routine therapy setting, PLD was administered in a slightly reduced dose (median, 40 mg/m2 per cycle). Response rate (complete and partial remission) was 26%, and stable disease was observed in 19% of patients. Progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 5.8 months and 14.2 months, respectively. There was no difference in terms of response and PFS, no matter if patients had already received anthracycline treatment. Interestingly, PFS proved similar regardless whether PLD was administered as palliative therapy in first, second or third line. Furthermore, PFS and OS were similar in patients with response or stable disease, underscoring the view that disease stabilization is associated with a profound clinical benefit. The most common side effects reported were palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (17%), exanthema (14%) and mucositis (12%).


Efficacy and toxicity data in these "real life" patients permit the conclusion that PLD is a valuable option in the treatment of advanced breast cancer even in heavily pretreated patients.