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Does a homeopathic medicine reduce hot flushes induced by adjuvant endocrine therapy in localized breast cancer patients? A multicenter randomized placebo-controlled phase III trial.

Support Care Cancer; 2018 Sep 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30194492

PURPOSE:

Endocrine therapy (ET) used to reduce the risk of recurrence in hormone receptor-expressing disease (75% of breast cancers) is associated with worsening of climacteric symptoms with a negative impact on quality of life (QoL). Homeopathy might allow a better management of hot flushes (HF).

METHODS:

In this multicenter randomized double-blind placebo-controlled phase III study ( ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01246427), we enrolled ≥ 18 years old women with histologically proven non metastatic localized breast cancer, with Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-Performance Status (ECOG-PS) ≤ 1, treated for at least 1 month with adjuvant ET, and complaining about moderate to severe HF. Patients should not be scheduled for chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and had no associated pathology known to induce HF. After a 2- to 4-week placebo administration, we randomly assigned (1:1) patients with HFS ≥ 10 using an interactive web-based centralized platform to BRN-01 homeopathic medicine complex (Actheane®) in arm A or Placebo (Arm P). Randomization was stratified by adjuvant ET (taxoxifen/aromatase inhibitor) and recruiting site. HF scores (HFS) were calculated as the mean of HF frequencies before randomization, at 4, and at 8 weeks post-randomization (pre-, 4w,- and 8w-) weighted by a 4-level intensity scale. Primary endpoint was assessed at 4-week post-randomization, as the variation between pre- and 4w-HFS. Secondary endpoints included HFS variation between pre- and 8w-HFS, compliance and tolerance assessed 8 weeks after randomization, and QoL and satisfaction assessed at 4- and 8-week post-randomization.

RESULTS:

Two hundred ninety-nine patients were included, and 138 (46.2%) randomized (A, 65; P, 73). Median 4w-HFS absolute variation (A, - 2.9; P, - 2.5 points, p = 0.756) and relative decrease (A, - 17%; P, - 15%, p = 0.629) were not statistically different. However, 4w-HFS decreased for 46 (75%) in A vs 48 (68%) patients in P arm. 4w-QoL was stable or improved for respectively 43 (72%) vs 51 (74%) patients (p = 0.470).

CONCLUSIONS:

The efficacy endpoint was not reached, and BRN-01 administration was not demonstrated as an efficient treatment to alleviate HF symptoms due to adjuvant ET in breast cancer patients. However, the study drug administration led to decreased HFS with a positive impact on QoL. Without any recommended treatment to treat or alleviate the HF-related disabling symptoms, Actheane® could be a promising option, providing an interesting support for better adherence to ET, thereby reducing the risk of recurrence with a good tolerance profile.