Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Caelyx™, Doxil®) represents an improved formulation of conventional doxorubicin, with reduced cardiotoxicity and an improved pharmacokinetic profile. This article reviews the efficacy and tolerability of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in metastatic breast cancer, progressive ovarian cancer, relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma and AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma, as well as summarizing its pharmacological properties.
In three randomized, open-label, multicentre trials, monotherapy with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin was as effective as doxorubicin or capecitabine in the first-line treatment of metastatic breast cancer, and as effective as vinorelbine or combination mitomycin plus vinblastine in taxane-refractory metastatic breast cancer.
Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin alone was as effective as topotecan or gemcitabine alone in patients with progressive ovarian cancer resistant or refractory to platinum- or paclitaxel-based therapy, according to the results of three randomized multicentre trials. In addition, in patients with progressive ovarian cancer who had received prior platinum-based therapy, progression-free survival was significantly longer with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin plus carboplatin than with paclitaxel plus carboplatin, according to the results of a randomized, open-label multicentre trial.
Combination therapy with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin plus bortezomib was more effective than bortezomib alone in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, according to the results of a randomized, open-label, multinational trial. Randomized multinational trials also demonstrated the efficacy of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in patients with advanced AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma.
Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin exhibited a relatively favourable safety profile compared with conventional doxorubicin and other available chemotherapy agents. The most common treatment-related adverse events included myelosuppression, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia and stomatitis, although these are manageable with appropriate supportive measures.
To conclude, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin is a useful option in the treatment of various malignancies, including metastatic breast cancer, ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma and AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma.