A Phase 2 Randomized, Double-blind Trial Evaluating the Effects of Chloroquine in Breast Cancer

Official Title

A Phase 2 Randomized, Double-blind, Window of Opportunity Trial Evaluating Clinical and Correlative Effects of Chloroquine as a Novel Therapeutic Strategy in Breast Cancer


Chloroquine (CQ) is a well known, well tolerated medication that has been used for many years traditionally for arthritis, lupus, and malaria. It has anti-inflammatory properties but is often the drug of choice for arthritis and malaria due to its few side effects. Recently, laboratory investigations have proven that CQ may potentially have anti-cancer properties, by inhibiting a process which allows cancers such as breast cancer to continue to grow (a process known as "autophagy"). Therefore, this study will look at how well CQ can inhibit the growth of breast cancers in patients while waiting for surgery.

Trial Description

Primary Outcome:

  • Effect of a brief course of CQ on tumour proliferation and apoptosis
Secondary Outcome:
  • Measure of Circulating CQ Metabolites
  • Autophagic Markers in Cancerous and Stromal Tissue
Patients diagnosed with breast cancer can sometimes wait up to 6 weeks for their surgery. The wait leading up to surgery is a potentially long and anxious time. Since no treatment is happening during this period anyway, this study will allow patients to receive CQ during this waiting period. This study will compare CQ treatment before surgery with the standard approach during this time, which is no treatment. Although CQ is widely used for the treatment of arthritis and malaria, CQ is considered investigational for use in breast cancer. The study will NOT interfere with the routine assessments as part of the pre-operative care, NOR will it delay the date of surgery. This study compares the effects of the CQ to placebo. Participants will be randomized 1:1 and be provided with the blinded placebo or QC (500mg daily) during the wait time. Biomarker testing will be performed on the initial biopsy tissue and at the time of surgery as well as blood work. There is also an opportunity for participants to enrol in the optional sample collection for future research.

View this trial on ClinicalTrials.gov

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Canadian Cancer Society

These resources are provided in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society