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13-06-2017 | Breast cancer | Article

IRIS study: a phase II study of the steroid sulfatase inhibitor Irosustat when added to an aromatase inhibitor in ER-positive breast cancer patients

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

Authors: Carlo Palmieri, Rob C. Stein, Xinxue Liu, Emma Hudson, Hanna Nicholas, Hironobu Sasano, Fouzia Guestini, Chris Holcombe, Sophie Barrett, Laura Kenny, Sadie Reed, Adrian Lim, Larry Hayward, Sacha Howell, R. Charles Coombes, On behalf of the IRIS trial participants

Publisher: Springer US



Irosustat is a first-generation, orally active, irreversible steroid sulfatase inhibitor. We performed a multicentre, open label phase II trial of the addition of Irosustat to a first-line aromatase inhibitor (AI) in patients with advanced BC to evaluate the safety of the combination and to test the hypothesis that the addition of Irosustat to AI may further suppress estradiol levels and result in clinical benefit.

Experimental design

Postmenopausal women with ER-positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer who had derived clinical benefit from a first-line AI and who subsequently progressed were enrolled. The first-line AI was continued and Irosustat (40 mg orally daily) added. The primary endpoint was clinical benefit rate (CBR). Secondary endpoints included safety, tolerability, and pharmacodynamic end points.


Twenty-seven women were recruited, four discontinued treatment without response assessment. Based on local reporting, the CBR was 18.5% (95% CI 6.3–38.1%) on an intent to treat basis, increasing to 21.7% (95% CI 7.4–43.7%) by per-protocol analysis. In those patients that achieved clinical benefit (n = 5), the median (interquartile range) duration was 9.4 months (8.1–11.3) months. The median progression-free survival time was 2.7 months (95% CI 2.5–4.6) in both the ITT and per-protocol analyses. The most frequently reported grade 3/4 toxicities were dry skin (28%), nausea (13%), fatigue (13%), diarrhoea (8%), headache (7%), anorexia (7%) and lethargy (7%).


The addition of Irosustat to aromatase inhibitor therapy resulted in clinical benefit with an acceptable safety profile. The study met its pre-defined success criterion by both local and central radiological assessments.

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