Poor outcome of patients with resectable breast cancer receiving adjuvant high-dose sequential chemotherapy following preoperative treatment

A Zambelli, G A Da Prada, P Pedrazzoli, L Ponchio, G Robustelli della Cuna
Anticancer Research 1999, 19 (3): 2373-6

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The prognosis of resectable high risk breast cancer (BC) patients (N+ > 10) is poor with a five-year disease-free survival (DFS) after standard adjuvant ADM/CMF chemotherapy (CT) of about 40%. An improvement in survival has been reported when high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell support is given. It has been recently suggested that nodal status and the degree of pathological remission following preoperative CT administered in patients harbouring tumors larger than 3 cm represent the most important prognostic factors for DFS. Since no data are available regarding the impact of primary CT in the high dose CT adjuvant setting, we retrospectively evaluated the efficacy of administering megadoses of cytotoxic drugs with stem cell support in the subgroup of patients showing poor response to preoperative CT.,

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Fourteen women with high risk BC, N+ > 10 and tumor size > 3 cm following antracyclin-based primary CT, received high dose sequential chemotherapy (HDS). The median number of positive axillary nodes at surgery was 18 and tumor size was greater than 5 cm in 6 patients. HDS chemotherapy consisted of cyclophosphamide (7 gr/m2), methotrexate (8 gr/m2) plus vincristin (2 mg), 2 courses of carboplatin (360 mg/m2), and Thiotepa (600 mg/m2) plus L-PAM (160 mg/m2) as final myeloablative regimen requiring stem cell support.

RESULTS: At a minimum follow up of 12 months (median 18 months, range 12-40) 5 patients remained disease free (36%) and 9 (64%) have relapsed (7 within the first 10 months).

CONCLUSION: Our retrospective analysis suggests that BC patients showing poor response to primary CT might fail to achieve the benefits expected from high dose intensification.

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