Targeting Estrogen Receptor Beta in a Phase 2 Study of High-Dose Estradiol in Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: A Wisconsin Oncology Network Study


Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic, Green Bay


BACKGROUND: Estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) is expressed by 50% to 80% of triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC). Agonism of ERβ has antiproliferative effects in TNBC cells expressing ERβ. This phase 2 study evaluated single-agent high-dose estradiol in patients with advanced TNBC.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Adult women with measurable advanced TNBC were treated with estradiol 10 mg oral 3 times daily provided continuously for 28-day cycles. A Simon optimal 2-stage design was used. The primary end point was objective response (OR). Secondary end points included progression-free survival (PFS), clinical benefit (CB), and safety. OR, CB, and PFS by ERβ status were also examined.

RESULTS: Seventeen evaluable women were enrolled. Median age was 58 years (range, 34-90 years); the median number of prior systemic therapies was 2 (range, 0-6). One patient had a confirmed partial response (OR rate, 5.9%) and remained on the study for > 24 weeks. Three patients had stable disease, with one lasting more than 16 weeks. ERβ expression was detected in 77% (13 patients). The CB rate at 16 weeks was 15% (2 of 13) in ERβ-positive patients and 0% (0 of 4) in ERβ-negative patients (P = 1). PFS was poor (median, 1.9 months) and not statistically significantly different between ERβ-positive versus -negative patients. No new adverse events from estradiol were identified. The study closed after the first stage as a result of limited responses in these unselected patients.

CONCLUSION: In unselected TNBC, high-dose estradiol has limited efficacy. However, further evaluation of ERβ selective agonists in TNBC selected by ERβ expression may be warranted.

Document Type


PubMed ID


Link to Full Text