BALTIMOREInvestigators at Johns Hopkins University Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center have begun phase I studies of intraductal chemotherapy in women with breast cancer scheduled for mastectomy. The chemotherapy agent is injected via hair-thin catheters into the milk ducts. The studies, headed by Vered Stearns, MD, breast cancer specialist at the Kimmel Cancer Center, are based on murine trials performed by Saraswati Sukumar, PhD, Barbara B. Rubenstein Professor of Oncology and her colleagues. "We would like to develop a treatment option for early breast cancers [ductal carcinoma in situ] that minimizes disfigurement and spares normal tissues," Dr. Sukumar said.
In neu-N mice, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin injected directly into the mammary ducts caused regression of established tumors and prevented tumor development more effectively than IV injection (P < .0001) (Cancer Res 66:638-645, 2006). "Intraductal administration resulted in lower circulating levels of doxorubicin, compared with IV administration, with no evidence of systemic toxicity or long-term histopathologic changes in the mammary gland," Dr. Sukumar said.
She noted that intraductal injection also has the potential to be used to administer preventive drugs such as tamoxifen in women who are at high risk for breast cancer.