Vinorelbine, Cisplatin, Disulfiram and Copper in CTC_EMT Positive Refractory Metastatic Breast Cancer.

  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    National Cancer Institute, Slovakia
Updated on 5 February 2023
platelet count
breast cancer
growth factor
endocrine therapy
kidney function tests
neutrophil count
hormone therapy
liver metastasis
bone metastases
immunological adjuvant


This is a proof-of-concept study to define efficacy of vinorelbine, cisplatin, disulfiram and copper in CTC_EMT positive refractory metastatic hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative breast cancer.


Despite advances in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, and therapy, 5-10% of patients with breast cancer have metastatic disease at initial presentation, and approximately 30% of patients with breast cancer develop metastatic disease during the course of disease. Metastatic cascade is a multistep process that enables the migration of tumor cells from the primary site to a distant location, where they can potentially establish a new cancer growth. To execute the metastatic cascade, epithelial cancer cells must detach from the primary tumor, pass through the peripheral circulation, extravasate at the distant site and create a new tumor.

Experimental and clinical data suggest a close relationship between activation of EMT program and generation of CTCs. EMT is associated with a set of molecular changes in epithelial cancer cells that results in increased motility and the induction of proteases that are involved in degradation of the extracellular matrix facilitating thus invasion and intravasation into the bloodstream. EMT has also been linked to the stem cell phenotype and resistance to apoptotic signals, facilitating EMT-derived CTCs to survive in foreign environments. Cancer stem cell phenotype is closely related to ALDH expression. Several studies showed that CTCs with EMT phenotype is associated with inferior outcome in primary as well as in metastatic setting.

In a biomarker study in primary breast cancer, CTC_EMT were detected in 77 (18.0%) of patients. Patients without detectable CTC_EMT in the peripheral blood had significantly superior DFS compared to patients with detectable CTC_EMT (HR = 0.42, 95%CI 0.22 - 0.78, p = 0.0003). Prognostic value of CTC_EMT was demonstrated in all subgroups of patients, most pronounced in hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative subgroup. In multivariate analysis, presence of CTC_EMT, axillary nodal involvement and hormone receptor status were independently associated with DFS. Presence of CTC_EMT could lead to better identification of patients with increased risk of recurrence, especially in hormone receptor positive, HER-2 negative primary breast cancer patients.

Disulfiram (DSF) in combination with copper (Cu) has been reported to override drug resistance in cancer cells, and DSF combined with chemotherapy based on the microtubule inhibitor vinorelbine appears to prolong survival in non-small cell lung cancer patients.

Based on aforementioned data, it is suggested that there is strong rationale to inhibit ALDH in MBC. Inactivation of ALDH by disulfiram/copper will be lead to increase of objective response rate in patients with refractory MBC.

Condition Metastatic Breast Cancer
Treatment cisplatin, Disulfiram, Copper, Vinorelbin
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04265274
SponsorNational Cancer Institute, Slovakia
Last Modified on5 February 2023

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