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Bexarotene in Preventing Breast Cancer in Patients at High Risk for Breast Cancer

Trial Status: Closed to Accrual and Intervention

This phase I trial studies the side effects and best dose of bexarotene in preventing breast cancer in patients at high risk for breast cancer. Bexarotene belongs to a class of drugs that are called rexinoids, and it may reduce the incidence of breast tumors.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Participants must be at high risk as defined by a history of breast cancer (invasive or ductal breast carcinoma in situ [DCIS]) and be at least 5 years out from diagnosis, or lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), or proliferative benign breast disease such atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH) or genetic test confirmation of BRCA 1/2 mutation carrier or have a breast cancer risk assessment >= 1.7% in 5 years or a lifetime risk >= 20%
  • No evidence of disease (in situ or invasive cancer that would normally be treated by resection) at trial entry as determined by the investigator; diagnosis of invasive cancer must be at least 5 years prior to initiation on trial
  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status =< 1 (Karnofsky >= 70%)
  • Leukocytes >= 3,000/microliter
  • Absolute neutrophil count >= 1,500/microliter
  • Platelets >= 100,000/microliter
  • Total bilirubin within normal institutional limits
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase [SGOT])/alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase [SGPT]) =< 1.5 x institutional upper limit of normal (ULN)
  • Creatinine =< 1.5 x institutional ULN
  • Hemoglobin >= 10 g/dL
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) within normal institutional limits
  • Triglycerides =< 300 mg/dl
  • Total cholesterol =< 300 mg/dl
  • >= 6 months from all previous breast cancer treatment (including endocrine therapy)
  • Participants must have adequate accessible breast tissue as determined by the treating physician, consisting of one breast unaffected by invasive cancer, which has not been radiated; a history of benign core biopsy of this breast will be permitted
  • Participants need to have had any breast imaging with a normal/benign (bi-rads 1 or 2) result within 180 days of day 0 and no further routine breast imaging planned during the course of the study (4 weeks); exception: if the mammogram result was a bi-rads 0 and the imaging work-up (ultrasound and/or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) result comes back normal/benign (bi-rads 1 or 2) before treatment initiation, then participant is eligible.
  • For women of childbearing potential; negative pregnancy testing within 72 hours prior to or on study visit #1 (day 0) and willingness to use adequate contraception during the study intervention; OR post-menopausal defined as any one of the following 1) prior hysterectomy, 2) absence of menstrual period for 1 year in the absence of prior chemotherapy or 3) absence of menstrual period for 2 years in women with a prior history of chemotherapy exposure who were pre-menopausal prior to chemotherapy; in women of childbearing potential, effective contraception must be used for one month prior to the initiation of therapy, during therapy, and for at least one month following discontinuation of therapy; it is recommended that two reliable forms of contraception be used simultaneously; if participants are interested in enrolling and have not met the requirement for contraception, they will be seen in the clinic in 1 month for re-evaluation once they have met this requirement and ensure all other eligibility criteria is met prior to dose assignment
  • Willingness to comply with all study interventions and follow-up procedures including the ability to apply the study drug to the breast
  • Ability to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent document
  • Ability to avoid exposure of the treated breast area to sunlight and artificial ultraviolet light during the use of bexarotene gel

Exclusion Criteria

  • History of allergic reactions attributed to compounds of similar chemical or biologic composition to bexarotene gel, oral or topical retinoids
  • Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to, ongoing or active infection, symptomatic congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmia, thromboembolic disease, or psychiatric illness/social situations that would limit compliance with study requirements
  • Pregnant, or had given birth, or nursed at any time during the last 12 months
  • Women with a history of any cancer within the last 3 years, except for non-melanoma skin cancer; history of breast cancer must be at least > 5 years from diagnosis
  • Prior bilateral breast surgery (mastectomy, segmental mastectomy, or breast augmentation surgery including breast implants or breast reductions) or combination of breast radiation and surgery involving both breasts
  • Prior history or evidence of metastatic breast cancer
  • Prior history of histologically confirmed bilateral invasive breast cancer
  • Current use or < 6 months since use of selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERMS) or aromatase inhibitors or any other investigational treatment for breast cancer prevention or therapy
  • Skin lesions that disrupt the stratum corneum (e.g., eczema, ulceration) or any breakdown of the skin
  • Current use of a retinol containing agent or any retinoid analogue drug within the last 30 days
  • Dietary vitamin A intake >= 5,000 IU/day (as determined by dietary supplementation)
  • Treatment with any investigational drug or investigational biologic within 30 days of initiating study treatment or during the study
  • History of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or active hepatitis C


M D Anderson Cancer Center
Contact: Parijatham (Priya) S. Thomas
Phone: 713-745-1075


I. To determine the recommended phase II dose of topical bexarotene 1% (weight by weight [w/w]) gel for evaluation in healthy women. (Dose Escalation Group)

II. Conduct an intervention of topical 1% bexarotene gel to an unaffected breast of healthy women at high risk for breast cancer for 4 weeks at the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) as determined during the dose escalation group phase to assess bexarotene concentration in the breast tissue. (Dose Expansion Group)


I. To detect bexarotene concentration in the serum at baseline and at 4 weeks of treatment.

II. To detect bexarotene concentration in the breast tissue at 4 weeks of treatment in the dose escalation group.

III. To investigate the effects of topical bexarotene on serum biomarkers, we will determine the change from baseline in i) lipid biomarkers (total cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoprotein [LDL], high density lipoprotein [HDL]), ii) thyroid function biomarkers (thyroid stimulating hormone [TSH], T4, T3), iii) calcium.


I. To examine changes in gene expression associated with retinoid action. (Dose Expansion Group)

OUTLINE: This is a dose-escalation study.

Group 1 will apply 10mg bexarotene topically to one breast every other day (QOD) for 4 weeks; Group 2 will apply 10mg bexarotene topically to one breast every other day (QOD) for 1 week and then daily for 3 weeks after confirmation that toxicity is at an acceptable range; Group 3 will apply 10mg bexarotene topically to one breast every other day (QOD) for 1 week, then daily for 1 week, and then 20mg daily for 2 weeks after confirmation that toxicity is at an acceptable range.

After completion of study treatment, patients are followed up at 30 days.

Trial Phase Phase I

Trial Type Prevention

Lead Organization
M D Anderson Cancer Center

Principal Investigator
Parijatham (Priya) S. Thomas

  • Primary ID 2017-0911
  • Secondary IDs NCI-2017-01960, MDA2016-08-02, N01-CN-2012-00034
  • ID NCT03323658