Randomized phase II study of primary systemic chemotherapy and trastuzumab for operable HER2 positive breast cancer

Seigo Nakamura, Masashi Ando, Norikazu Masuda, Kenjiro Aogi, Hiroyo Ino, Hiroji Iwata, Yutaka Tokuda, Naohito Yamamoto, Hiroi Kasai, Masahiko Takeuchi, Hitoshi Tsuda, Futoshi Akiyama, Masafumi Kurosumi, Yasuhiro Fujiwara
Clinical Breast Cancer 2012, 12 (1): 49-56

BACKGROUND: In primary systemic therapy in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive (HER2(+)) breast cancer, improvements in pathologic complete response (pCR) rate have been achieved by administering trastuzumab.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with stage II or IIIA HER2(+) operable breast cancer were randomly assigned to receive four 3-weekly cycles of FEC (5-fluorouracil 500 mg/m(2), epirubicin 100 mg/m(2), cyclophosphamide 500 mg/m(2)) followed by 4 cycles of 3-weekly trastuzumab (8 mg/kg week 1 and then 6 mg/kg) with either 12 weekly doses of paclitaxel 80 mg/m(2) (FEC-PH) or 4 cycles of 3-weekly docetaxel 75 mg/m(2) (FEC-DH).

RESULTS: Between March 2007 and June 2008, 102 patients were enrolled. Forty-nine patients receiving FEC-PH and 47 receiving FEC-DH were assessable for efficacy and safety. Eighty-four patients completed treatment and underwent surgery. There was no significant difference in the pCR rate between the 2 groups (46.9% [95% CI, 33.7%-60.6%] with FEC-PH vs. 42.6% [95% CI, 29.5%-56.8%] with FEC-DH; P = .67). Analysis by hormone receptor (HR) status showed pCR rates of 54.2% (32/59) in HR(-) tumors and 29.7% (11/37) in HR(+) tumors (P = .02). Among HR(-) tumors, the pCR rates were 65.4% and 45.5% in patients treated with FEC-PH and FEC-DH, respectively (P = .13).

CONCLUSIONS: There was no significant difference in pCR rate between FEC-PH and FEC-DH. Both regimens achieved higher pCR rates in HR(-) than HR(+) breast cancer, and there was a trend toward higher pCR in HR(-) tumors with FEC-PH compared with FEC-DH. Further investigation is warranted to explore the relationship between efficacy and HR status.

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