Breast cancer is the most prevalent malignant disease in women worldwide. Traditionally, surgical tumour resection was the primary step within the treatment algorithm of early stage disease; systemic therapy in order to reduce the rate of systemic recurrences followed. National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) trial B-18 found that pre- and postoperative administration of chemotherapy was equally effective. This study therefore established neoadjuvant chemotherapy as a valid treatment option, as the breast conservation rate is increased. Modern neoadjuvant regimens encompassing anthracyclines and taxanes yield pathological complete response (pCR) rates of around 20%, with higher efficacy observed in triple-negative tumours. The antibody trastuzumab is the first targeted agent established in neoadjuvant regimens for the treatment of Her2-positive breast cancer, as it raised pCR rates up to 50%. Novel approaches are aiming to increase the efficacy of neoadjuvant therapy. Inclusion of capecitabine might further increase pCR rates in selected patients, although data are not unanimous throughout the respective clinical trials. In patients harbouring BRCA-1 germline mutations, platinum derivatives are apparently promising. Novel Her2-targeted agents such as lapatinib and pertuzumab are currently under investigation in several clinical trials, while the role of bevacizumab, a monoclonal antibody inhibiting angiogenesis, awaits future clarification.
Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Neoadjuvant therapy; Targeted therapy
Trastuzumab has shown significant clinical benefits in patients with operable and metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer. However, the biological mechanism of the additional effect of trastuzumab administered in combination with conventional chemotherapy is poorly understood. We performed a retrospective analysis of 55 patients with HER2-positive breast cancer treated with anthracycline and taxane (chemotherapy alone; CT), or trastuzumab in combination with taxane-based chemotherapy (CT+T) for neoadjuvant chemotherapy. We determined the therapeutic efficacies [clinical (CR) and pathological complete responses (pCR)] and changes in the proportion of positive cells for each biomarker pre- to post-neoadjuvant chemotherapy for each treatment regimen. Clinical-CR and quasi-pCR rates defined as the absence of invasive tumors or only a few remaining invasive tumor cells were 6.9 and 31.0% in the CT group and 46.2 and 65.4% in the CT+T group, respectively. In the CT group, the proportion of estrogen receptor (ER)-/progesterone receptor (PgR)-positive cells decreased significantly following treatment (ER, 73.5 vs. 50.9%; P=0.02). Changes in the proportion of ER-/PgR-positive cells were not noted in the CT+T group (ER, 81.9 vs. 80.3%; P=0.61), although a relatively greater decrease in the proportion of Ki-67-positive cells was found in the CT+T group than that in the CT group (−26.5 vs. −13.7%). These findings indicate that CT+T inhibits ER-negative and Ki-67-positive breast cancer cells. In conclusion, trastuzumab sensitized ER-negative proliferative cells to cytotoxic chemotherapy. This finding may indicate an additional clinical effect of trastuzumab when administered in combination with conventional chemotherapy as neoadjuvant chemotherapy for HER2-positive breast cancer.
trastuzumab; neoadjuvant therapy; estrogen receptor
Reliable predictive and prognostic markers for routine diagnostic purposes are needed for breast cancer patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. We evaluated protein biomarkers in a cohort of 116 participants of the GeparDuo study on anthracycline/taxane-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy for operable breast cancer to test for associations with pathological complete response (pCR) and disease-free survival (DFS). Particularly, we evaluated if interactions between hormone receptor (HR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expression might lead to a different clinical behavior of HR+/HER2+ co-expressing and HR+/HER2- tumors and whether subgroups of triple negative tumors might be identified by the help of Ki67 labeling index, cytokeratin 5/6 (CK5/6), as well as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and Y-box binding protein 1 (YB-1) expression.
Expression analysis was performed using immunohistochemistry and silver-enhanced in situ hybridization on tissue microarrays (TMAs) of pretherapeutic core biopsies.
pCR rates were significantly different between the biology-based tumor types (P = 0.044) with HR+/HER2+ and HR-/HER2- tumors having higher pCR rates than HR+/HER2- tumors. Ki67 labeling index, confirmed as significant predictor of pCR in the whole cohort (P = 0.001), identified HR-/HER- (triple negative) carcinomas with a higher chance for a pCR (P = 0.006). Biology-based tumor type (P = 0.046 for HR+/HER2+ vs. HR+/HER2-), Ki67 labeling index (P = 0.028), and treatment arm (P = 0.036) were independent predictors of pCR in a multivariate model. DFS was different in the biology-based tumor types (P < 0.0001) with HR+/HER2- and HR+/HER2+ tumors having the best prognosis and HR-/HER2+ tumors showing the worst outcome. Biology-based tumor type was an independent prognostic factor for DFS in multivariate analysis (P < 0.001).
Our data demonstrate that a biology-based breast cancer classification using estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), and HER2 bears independent predictive and prognostic potential. The HR+/HER2+ co-expressing carcinomas emerged as a group of tumors with a good response rate to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and a favorable prognosis. HR+/HER2- tumors had a good prognosis irrespective of a pCR, whereas patients with HR-/HER- and HR-/HER+ tumors, especially if they had not achieved a pCR, had an unfavorable prognosis and are in need of additional treatment options.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00793377
Breast cancer is increasingly considered a heterogeneous disease. The aim of this study was to assess the differences between histological and receptor-based subtypes in breast-conserving surgery and pathological complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
A consecutive series of 254 patients with operable breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy was analyzed. Tumors were classified according to their receptor status in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumors (HER2-negative), triple-negative tumors, and HER2-positive tumors. The type of surgery feasible prior to neoadjuvant chemotherapy was compared with the actual surgery performed.
The overall increase in breast-conserving surgery was 37% (73 of 198). In patients with ductal and lobular carcinomas this increase was 41% (63 of 152, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.34–0.49) and 20% (7 of 35, 95% CI 0.10–0.36), respectively (P = 0.02). Half of the patients with lobular carcinoma had to undergo a secondary mastectomy because of incomplete resection margins. In ER-positive, triple-negative and HER2-positive tumors, the increase in breast-conserving surgery was 39% (42 of 109, 95% CI 0.30–0.48), 24% (11 of 45, 95% CI 0.14–0.38), and 45% (20 of 44, 95% CI 0.32–0.60) (P = 0.11). The pCR rate in ductal and lobular carcinomas was 12% (23 of 195) and 2% (1 of 42), respectively (P = 0.09). In ER-positive, triple-negative and HER2-positive tumors the pCR rates were 2% (3 of 138), 28% (16 of 57), and 18% (10 of 56), respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that the receptor-based subtype was the only significant predictor of pCR (P = 0.004).
In lobular tumors the benefit with regard to breast-conserving surgery of neoadjuvant chemotherapy is questionable. Although in ER-positive tumors the pCR rate is low, the increase in breast-conserving surgery was remarkable in ductal ER-positive tumors.
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is the standard treatment for patients with locally advanced breast cancer and is increasingly considered for patients with operable disease. Recently, as many clinical trials have demonstrated favorable outcomes of anthracycline-taxane based regimen, this approach has been widely used in the neoadjuvant setting.
We compared women who received adriamycine and docetaxel (AD) with adriamycin, cyclophosphamide followed by paclitaxel (AC-T) as neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The AD group was scheduled for six cycles of AD (50 mg/m2 and 75 mg/m2, respectively) at a 3-week interval. The AC-T group was scheduled for four cycles of adriamycin and cyclophosphamide (50 mg/m2 and 500 mg/m2, respectively) followed by four cycles of paclitaxel (175 mg/m2) at a 3-week interval.
The responses of chemotherapy were equivalent (overall response rate [AD, 75.7% vs. AC-T, 80.9%; P = 0.566], pathologic complete response [pCR] rate [breast and axilla: AD, 10.8% vs. AC-T, 12.8%; P = 1.000; breast only: AD, 18.9% vs. AC-T, 14.9%, P = 0.623], breast conserving surgery rate [P = 0.487], and breast conserving surgery conversion rate [P = 0.562]). The pCR rate in the breast was higher in the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive cases (HER2 positive 33.3% vs. negative 10%, P = 0.002). Although nonhematologic toxicities were comparable, hematologic toxicities were more severe in the AD group. Most women in the AD group suffered from grade 3/4 neutropenia (P < 0.001) and neutropenic fever (P < 0.001).
Tumor responses were not different in various variables between the two groups. However, AC-T was a more tolerable regimen than AD in patients with breast cancer receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
Breast neoplasms; Neoadjuvant therapy
Combinations of capecitabine and a taxane are highly active in metastatic breast cancer, and synergy between capecitabine and docetaxel has also been demonstrated. Such combinations potentially would provide a promising non–anthracycline-based alternative for patients with early breast cancer. Non-anthracycline preoperative regimens are a particularly interesting proposition in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer, as they offer less cardiotoxicity and thus can be used concomitantly with preoperative trastuzumab therapy. Capecitabine plus docetaxel (XT) and trastuzumab with XT (HXT) are promising non-anthracycline regimens for the preoperative treatment of women with HER2-negative and HER2-positive breast cancer, respectively. The Xeloda in Neoadjuvant (XeNA) trial, an open-label, multicenter, phase II study, independently assesses the efficacy of preoperative XT in HER2-negative and HXT in HER2-positive breast cancer. A particularly important feature of the XeNA study is the use of pathologic complete response (pCR) plus near pCR (npCR) as the primary endpoint. pCR is associated with long-term survival, and although it is valuable as a surrogate marker, pCR has some limitations. Measurement of residual breast cancer burden (RCB) has been proposed as a more practical alternative to predict survival after preoperative chemotherapy. The combination of RCB-0 and RCB-I (npCR) expands the subset of patients shown to benefit from preoperative chemotherapy, and achievement of pCR or npCR is associated with long disease-free survival. In XeNA, the sum of pCR and npCR will facilitate correlative studies designed to identify patients most likely to benefit from XT and HXT and may expedite the clinical evaluation of these novel preoperative regimens.
Pathologic complete response; Breast-conserving surgery; Taxane; Anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity
Despite the activity of standard chemotherapies in advanced breast cancer, disease progression remains inevitable. Most patients exposed to anthracyclines and taxanes develop resistance and a significant subset shows primary resistance. The increasing use of these agents as adjuvant therapy may result in more anthracycline- and taxane-resistant patients in the metastatic setting; few treatment options are available for patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) resistant to multiple chemotherapies. The heterogeneity of breast cancer represents another therapeutic challenge. Breast cancers may be classified as luminal, human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2)-positive, or estrogen receptor-, progesterone receptor-, and human epidermal growth factor 2-negative (ER/PR/HER2-negative, triple negative). HER2-positive and ER/PR/HER2-negative tumors are associated with poor prognosis owing to aggressive disease and poor long-term response to therapy. The epothilone B analog ixabepilone has low susceptibility to multiple mechanisms of resistance and has demonstrated activity in patients with MBC resistant to anthracyclines, taxanes, and/or capecitabine. Ixabepilone is the first epothilone to be approved, as monotherapy or in combination with capecitabine, for treatment of resistant/refractory MBC or locally advanced breast cancer. Treatment with ixabepilone is an option for patients with ER/PR/HER2-negative or HER2-positive disease and/or primary resistance to taxanes.
breast cancer; drug resistance; epothilone; HER2-positive; ixabepilone; ER/PR/HER2-negative (triple negative)
Systemic treatment for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC: negative for the expression of estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor and HER2 amplification) has been limited to chemotherapy options. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induces tumor shrinkage and improves the surgical outcomes of patients with locally advanced disease and also identifies those at high risk of disease relapse despite today's standard of care. By using pathologic complete response as a surrogate endpoint, novel treatment strategies can be efficiently assessed. Tissue analysis in the neoadjuvant setting is also an important research tool for the identification of chemotherapy resistance mechanisms and new therapeutic targets. In this paper, we review data on completed and ongoing neoadjuvant clinical trials in patients with TNBC and discuss treatment controversies that face clinicians and researchers when neoadjuvant chemotherapy is employed.
Estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PgR) status are predictive factors for the clinical and pathological response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy for operable breast cancer. However, it remains unclear as to how the proportion of ER-positive or PgR-positive tumor cells affects the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. We examined the correlation of the proportion of ER-positive or PgR-positive tumor cells with the clinical and pathological response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy for operable human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer. From April 2002 to October 2010, 103 patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy containing epirubicin and taxane in our clinic. A clinical response was observed in 86 (83%) patients, and a pathological complete response (pCR) was observed in 16 (16%) patients. Fourteen (30%) of 46 patients with ER-negative tumors achieved pCR and 15 (26%) of 57 patients with PgR-negative tumors achieved pCR. Patients with more than 30% ER-positive tumor cells or more than 1% PgR-positive tumor cells did not achieve pCR. No significant correlation was observed between pCR and the menopausal status, tumor size, grade and Ki-67 expression. In univariate analysis, pCR was associated with the ER status (p=0.001), PgR status (p=0.0001) and chemotherapy regimens (p=0.03). Multivariate analysis revealed that ER and PgR status were significant factors for pCR, and patients with ER-negative tumors were 18.6 times more likely to achieve pCR than those with greater than or equal to 30% ER-positive tumor cells (p=0.006; 95% confidence interval 2.3–149.9). We demonstrated a predictive significance of the proportion of ER-positive or PgR-positive tumor cells in the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy for operable HER2-negative breast cancer. ER-negativity (<1%) was a significant predictive factor for achieving pCR in multivariate analysis. Conversely, patients with more than 30% ER-positive tumor cells or more than 1% PgR-positive tumor cells may not achieve pCR.
breast cancer; estrogen receptor; progesterone receptor; human epidermal growth factor receptor 2
Approximately one quarter of patients with breast cancer demonstrate amplification of the human epidermal receptor type 2 (HER2) gene, the expression of which is associated with a relatively poor prognosis independent of other clinical and pathologic variables. Trastuzumab, a humanized recombinant monoclonal antibody specifically directed against the HER2 receptor, has been shown to be biologically active and of considerable clinical utility in HER2-positive breast cancer patients. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy has been used in breast cancer to downstage the tumor and increase the opportunity for breast-conserving surgery. Preoperative chemotherapy can also serve as an in vivo testing of chemotherapy sensitivity. Additionally, a pathologic complete response is usually a surrogate marker of disease-free survival. Following the successful use of trastuzumab in the metastatic and adjuvant settings, many clinical trials have recently reported the successful use of anti-HER2 therapy in combination with different chemotherapy regimens in the neoadjuvant setting with a significantly higher pathologic complete response. With the recent introduction of new anti-HER2 drugs, interest has shifted toward dual HER2 blockade. Two such studies were recently reported, both showing a significant advantage of dual anti-HER2 therapy using lapatinib or pertuzumab in addition to trastuzumab and chemotherapy. However, several key questions need to be investigated further, such as the preferred combination chemotherapy and the optimal duration of trastuzumab in patients who achieve a pathologic complete response following preoperative chemotherapy with trastuzumab. These issues and others are discussed in this review.
neoadjuvant; breast cancer; trastuzumab; pertuzumab; lapatinib
Approximately 20%–25% of patients with breast cancer demonstrate amplification of the human epidermal receptor type 2 (HER2) gene, resulting in an overexpression of the HER2 receptor. This overexpression is associated with aggressive disease, relatively poor prognosis, and worse clinical outcomes. Neoadjuvant therapy is the standard treatment in patients with locally advanced, inflammatory, or inoperable primary breast cancer. It is generally used to downstage the tumors and therefore to improve surgical options including breast-conserving surgery rather than mastectomy. It has been confirmed that patients with pathological complete response (pCR) to neoadjuvant treatment have better disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). Neoadjuvant treatment can also serve as in vivo test of sensitivity to the used therapeutic regimen. The preferred neoadjuvant approach to patients with HER2-positive breast cancer is a sequential anthracycline-taxane-based chemotherapy in combination with trastuzumab. Addition of other anti-HER2 agents has increased pCR rate up to 75% and will probably become a new therapeutic direction. In the first part of this paper, we summarize the information about HER2-positive breast cancer, the various treatment possibilities, and the results of the major neoadjuvant trials. The second part focuses on the data concerning the importance of pCR and the potential risk of cardiotoxicity associated with this treatment.
Women who suffer from large or locally advanced malignant breast tumors are now commonly treated with preoperative (‘neoadjuvant’) systemic therapy to improve surgical outcomes and to raise the chances for breast-conserving therapy (BCT). Until recently, chemotherapy was the treatment of choice, and primary systemic endocrine treatment was restricted to medically frail or older women with receptor-positive breast cancer. The development of modern aromatase inhibitors (Als) and their subsequent clinical evaluation in neoadjuvant trials now provides us with an alternative to chemotherapy that is thought to be equally effective, yet considerably better tolerated. Several large prospective trials have compared tamoxifen with the non-steroidal AIs letrozole and anastrozole and the steroidal Al exemestane, with improved outcomes for all AIs in terms of tumor remission and rate of BCT. A number of predictive biomarkers now also allow us to identify those tumors that most likely respond to a certain endocrine regimen.
Neo-adjuvant; Endocrine therapy; Breast cancer
Bevacizumab and the antimetabolites capecitabine and gemcitabine have been shown to improve outcomes when added to taxanes in patients with metastatic breast cancer. The primary aims of this trial were to determine whether the addition of capecitabine or gemcitabine to neoadjuvant chemotherapy with docetaxel, followed by doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide, would increase the rates of pathological complete response in the breast in women with operable, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)–negative breast cancer and whether adding bevacizumab to these chemotherapy regimens would increase the rates of pathological complete response.
We randomly assigned 1206 patients to receive neoadjuvant therapy consisting of docetaxel (100 mg per square meter of body-surface area on day 1), docetaxel (75 mg per square meter on day 1) plus capecitabine (825 mg per square meter twice a day on days 1 to 14), or docetaxel (75 mg per square meter on day 1) plus gemcitabine (1000 mg per square meter on days 1 and 8) for four cycles, with all regimens followed by treatment with doxorubicin–cyclophosphamide for four cycles. Patients were also randomly assigned to receive or not to receive bevacizumab (15 mg per kilogram of body weight) for the first six cycles of chemotherapy.
The addition of capecitabine or gemcitabine to docetaxel therapy, as compared with docetaxel therapy alone, did not significantly increase the rate of pathological complete response (29.7% and 31.8%, respectively, vs. 32.7%; P = 0.69). Both capecitabine and gemcitabine were associated with increased toxic effects — specifically, the hand–foot syndrome, mucositis, and neutropenia. The addition of bevacizumab significantly increased the rate of pathological complete response (28.2% without bevacizumab vs. 34.5% with bevacizumab, P = 0.02). The effect of bevacizumab on the rate of pathological complete response was not the same in the hormone-receptor–positive and hormone-receptor–negative subgroups. The addition of bevacizumab increased the rates of hypertension, left ventricular systolic dysfunction, the hand–foot syndrome, and mucositis.
The addition of bevacizumab to neoadjuvant chemotherapy significantly increased the rate of pathological complete response, which was the primary end point of this study. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00408408.)
We report a case of synchronous locally advanced bilateral breast cancer with different pathological responses to neoadjuvant chemotherapy with different biological character. The patient had presented bilateral breast cancer: the left breast cancer was hormone receptor negative, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) positive, and classified as T4bN1M0, stage IIIb, while the right was hormone receptor positive, HER2-negative, and classified as T4bN0M0, stage IIIb. We administered four cycles of anthracycline-based therapy followed by 12 weekly cycles of taxane with trastuzumab for neoadjuvant chemotherapy. We had achieved a significant left tumor reduction after each chemotherapy, but not right tumor. Bilateral modified radical mastectomies with axillary lymph-node dissection were performed. The therapeutic effect in the left was determined as a pathological complete response, in contrast to the right side. She has no recurrence for more than five years, though she had advanced cancer with oncologic emergency. This case could be an informative experience to understand the relation of tumor biology and response to systemic therapy.
Neoadjuvant therapy; Estrogen receptor; HER2; Bilateral breast cancer
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC), also termed primary, induction, or preoperative chemotherapy, is traditionally used to downstage inoperable breast cancer. In recent years it has been increasingly used for patients who have operable cancers in order to facilitate breast-conserving surgery, achieve better cosmetic outcome, and improve prognosis by reaching pathologic complete response (pCR). Many studies have demonstrated that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can assess residual tumor size after NAC, and that provides critical information for planning of the optimal surgery. NAC also allows for timely adjustment of administered drugs based on response, so ineffective regimens could be terminated early to spare patients from unnecessary toxicity while allowing other effective regimens to work sooner. This review article summarizes the clinical application of MRI during NAC. The use of different MR imaging methods, including dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, proton MR spectroscopy, and diffusion-weighted MRI, to monitor and evaluate the NAC response, as well as how changes of parameters measured at an early time after initiation of a drug regimen can predict final treatment outcome, are reviewed. MRI has been proven a valuable tool and will continue to provide important information facilitating individualized image-guided treatment and personalized management for breast cancer patients undergoing NAC.
Dynamic PET imaging can identify patterns of breast cancer metabolism and perfusion in patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NC) that are predictive of response. This analysis examines tumor metabolism and perfusion by tumor subtype.
Tumor subtype was defined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 71 patients with LABC undergoing NC. Subtype was defined as luminal (ER/PR positive), triple-negative (TN; ER/PR negative, HER2 negative) and HER2 (ER/PR negative, HER2 over-expressing). Metabolic rate (MRFDG) and blood flow (BF) were calculated from PET imaging prior to NC. Pathologic complete response (pCR) to NC was classified as pCR versus other.
Twenty-five (35%) of 71 patients had TN tumors, 6 (8%) were HER2 and 40 (56%) were luminal. MRFDG for TN tumors was on average 67% greater than for luminal tumors (95% CI 9% – 156%), and average MRFDG/BF ratio was 53% greater in TN compared to luminal tumors (95% CI 9% – 114%) (p < 0.05 for both). Average blood flow levels did not differ by subtype (p = 0.73). Most luminal tumors showed relatively low MRFDG and BF (and did not achieve pCR); high MRFDG was generally matched with high BF in luminal tumors, and predicted pCR. This was not true in TN tumors.
The relationship between breast tumor metabolism and perfusion differed by subtype. The high MRFDG/BF ratio that predicts poor response to NC was more common in TN tumors. Metabolism and perfusion measures may identify subsets of tumors susceptible and resistant to NC and may help direct targeted therapy.
We have recently described an increased lymphocytic infiltration rate in breast carcinoma tissue is a significant response predictor for anthracycline/taxane-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). The aim of this study was to prospectively validate the tumor-associated lymphocyte infiltrate as predictive marker for response to anthracycline/taxane-based NACT.
Patients and Methods
The immunological infiltrate was prospectively evaluated in a total of 313 core biopsies from HER2 negative patients of the multicenter PREDICT study, a substudy of the neoadjuvant GeparQuinto study. Intratumoral lymphocytes (iTuLy), stromal lymphocytes (strLy) as well as lymphocyte-predominant breast cancer (LPBC) were evaluated by histopathological assessment. Pathological complete response (pCR) rates were analyzed and compared between the defined subgroups using the exact test of Fisher.
Patients with lymphocyte-predominant breast cancer (LPBC) had a significantly increased pCR rate of 36.6%, compared to non-LPBC patients (14.3%, p<0.001). LPBC and stromal lymphocytes were significantly independent predictors for pCR in multivariate analysis (LPBC: OR 2.7, p = 0.003, strLy: OR 1.2, p = 0.01). The amount of intratumoral lymphocytes was significantly predictive for pCR in univariate (OR 1.2, p = 0.01) but not in multivariate logistic regression analysis (OR 1.2, p = 0.11).
Confirming previous investigations of our group, we have prospectively validated in an independent cohort that an increased immunological infiltrate in breast tumor tissue is predictive for response to anthracycline/taxane-based NACT. Patients with LPBC and increased stromal lymphocyte infiltration have significantly increased pCR rates. The lymphocytic infiltrate is a promising additional parameter for histopathological evaluation of breast cancer core biopsies.
Metastatic breast cancer patients are usually exposed to taxane and anthracycline as neoadjuvant, adjuvant and palliative chemotherapeutic agents. This study was designed to determine the efficacy and safety of the use of a gemcitabine and cisplatin (GP) combination treatment in patients with metastatic breast cancer that were pretreated with anthracycline and taxane.
Materials and Methods
We evaluated the use of a GP regimen (1,000 mg/m2 gemcitabine administered on days 1 and 8 plus 60 mg/m2 cisplatin administered on day 1 every 3 weeks) in 38 breast cancer patients who had received prior chemotherapy with anthracycline and taxane as an adjuvant or neoadjuvant therapy, or as a palliative therapy.
The median patient age was 49 years (age range, 35~69 years). The overall response rate was 28.9% in 11 patients (95% confidence interval [CI], 14~44%). The median time to progression was 5.2 months (95% CI, 3.6~6.8 months). Median survival was 19.5 months (95% CI, 11.2~27.8 months). Major grade 3/4 hematological toxicity was due to leukopenia (36 of 157 cycles, 23.1%). Non-hematological toxicity was rarely severe; grade1/2 nausea and vomiting were observed in 37.8% of the patients. There were no treatment related deaths.
Our results suggest that the use of gemcitabine plus cisplatin appears to be effective and has an acceptable toxicity profile in patients with advanced breast cancer that have been pretreated with anthracycline and taxane.
Breast neoplasms; Anthracycline; Taxane; Gemcitabine; Cisplatin
Women receiving neoadjuvant systemic therapy for primary operable or inoperable breast cancer can potentially benefit in a number of ways, but the main advantage, which has been consistently demonstrated, is improved tumour resectability. Given the improvement in outcomes with the adjuvant use of trastuzumab in patients with early-stage breast cancer positive for the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (her2), questions have been raised about the use of trastuzumab in the neoadjuvant setting. The present paper reviews the currently available data and outlines suggestions from a panel of Canadian oncologists about the use of trastuzumab and other her2-targeted agents in the neoadjuvant setting.
The panel focussed on
the use of trastuzumab and other her2-targeted agents as neoadjuvant therapy in primary operable, locally advanced, and inflammatory breast cancer; andpossible choices of chemotherapeutic regimens with trastuzumab.
The suggestions described here will continue to evolve as data from current and future trials with trastuzumab and other her2-targeted agents emerge.
Neoadjuvant; breast cancer; her2-targeted therapy; trastuzumab
Background: Neoadjuvant anti-tumor activity of an alternating taxane- and anthracycline-based dose-dense regimen in patients with operable, noninflammatory large breast cancer was investigated.
Objective: The objective is to study the rate of pathological complete response in patients with breast cancer receiving dose-dense chemotherapy sequentially with gemcitabine plus docetaxel and vinorelbine plus epirubicin.
Methods: Women (n = 74) with clinical stage II or III breast cancer were enrolled in this open-label, multicenter study to receive six 2-weekly courses of gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 plus docetaxel 75 mg/m2 on days 1 and 15, and vinorelbine 25 mg/m2 plus epirubicin 100mg/m2 on days 29 and 43. Patients with an objective response on day 56 then received another cycle of gemcitabine/ docetaxel on day 57 and of vinorelbine/epirubicin on day 71. Conservative surgery was scheduled for all patients.
Results: Of the patients enrolled, 30% had triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The pathologic complete response (pCR) rate was 22% overall, but was higher in TNBC than patients without TNBC (40.9% vs 14.0%; p=0.028). Among patients with a pCR, patients with TNBC had similar recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) to patients without TNBC. Among those without a pCR, RFS rates for patients with TNBC were significantly lower than for patients without TNBC (p=0.04). The most common severe hematologic toxicity was neutropenia.
Conclusions: Administering four drugs in a dose-dense alternating sequence gave a high pCR in patients with operable, invasive breast cancer. Patients with TNBC with a pCR had similar OS to patients without TNBC, whereas patients with TNBC without a pCR had poorer survival rate than their non- TNBC counterparts.
Traditionally, neoadjuvant treatment for breast cancer was preserved for locally advanced and inflammatory disease, converting an inoperable to a surgical resectable cancer. In recent years, neoadjuvant therapy has become an accepted treatment option also for lower tumor stages in order to increase the rate of breast conserving therapy and to reduce the extent of surgery. Furthermore, treatment response can be monitored, and therefore, patient compliance may be increased. Neoadjuvant trials, additionally, offer the opportunity to evaluate new treatment options in a faster way and with fewer patients than large adjuvant trials. Compared to the metastatic setting, the issue of acquired resistance and pretreatments, which may distort treatment efficacy, can be avoided. New trial designs like window-of-opportunity trials or postneoadjuvant trials provide the chance to identify tumor sensitivity or to overcome tumor resistance in early tumor stages. In particular, in HER2-positive breast cancer, the neoadjuvant approach yielded great successes. The dual HER2 blockade with trastuzumab and pertuzumab recently showed the highest pCR rates ever reported. Many new drugs are in clinical testing with the aim to further increase pCR rates. Whether this endpoint really represents a surrogate for long-term outcome is not answered yet and will be discussed in this review.
Sequential administration of anthracyclin and taxane for neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) is the standard treatment for operable breast cancer. The pathological complete response (pCR) is a significant predictor of overall survival (OS), regardless of treatment. In this study, the pCR rate was retrospectively examined and compared with the treatment efficacy and the characteristics of pCR patients were analyzed. A total of 54 female patients with operable breast cancer, treated with FEC 100 followed by weekly paclitaxel between December 2005 and May 2009 at the Osaka City University Hospital, Osaka, Japan, were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 21 patients (39%) achieved pCR. The overall response rate was 91%. Only one patient had progressive disease. The pCR rate was significantly higher in those patients with estrogen receptor (ER)- and progesterone receptor (PR)-negative tumors and in those patients who completed the treatment course. An NAC regimen incorporating FEC 100 followed by weekly paclitaxel is effective for treating operable breast cancer.
operable breast cancer; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; FEC 100; weekly paclitaxel
To evaluate the influence of race/ethnicity and tumor subtype in pathological complete response (pCR) following treatment with neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
2074 patients diagnosed with breast cancer between 1994 and 2008, treated with neoadjuvant anthracycline- and taxane-based chemotherapy, were included. pCR was defined as no residual invasive cancer in the breast and axilla. Kaplan-Meier product-limit was used to calculate survival outcomes. Cox proportional hazards models were fitted to determine the relationship of patient and tumor variables with outcome.
Median age was 50 years, 14.6% patients were black, 15.2% Hispanic, 64.3% White, and 5.9% other race. There were no differences in pCR rates among race/ethnicity: (12.3% in black, 14.2% in Hispanics, 12.3% in whites and 11.5% in others, p=.788). Lack of pCR, breast cancer subtype, grade 3 tumors, and lymphovascular invasion were associated with worse RFS and OS (p≤.0001). Differences in RFS by race/ethnicity were seen in the patients with hormone receptor-positive disease, p=.007. In multivariate analysis, Hispanics had improved RFS (HR, 95% CI 0.69; 0.49-0.97) and OS (HR, 95% CI 0.63; 0.41-0.97); blacks had a trend to worse outcomes (RFS:HR, 95% CI 1.28; 0.97-1.68, OS:HR, 1.32; 95% CI; 0.97-1.81) when compared to whites.
In this cohort of patients, race/ethnicity was not significantly associated with pCR rates. In a multivariate analysis we observed improved outcomes in Hispanics and a trend towards worse outcomes in black patients, when compared to whites. Further research is needed to explore the potential differences in biology and outcomes.
neoadjuvant chemotherapy; breast cancer; race; pathological complete response
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed during pregnancy.
We report on a case of a 26-year-old woman who was diagnosed with right-sided breast cancer in her 15th week of gestation. We discussed possible treatment scenarios and the patient opted for neoadjuvant therapy with taxanes and anthracyclines during pregnancy, followed by delivery and then followed by surgery, antibody therapy, and radiotherapy. The patient received neoadjuvant chemotherapy with paclitaxel 80 mg/m2 weekly for 12 cycles, followed by 4 cycles of epirubicin and cyclophosphamide (90/600 mg/m2) every 3 weeks. Complete clinical response was seen after preoperative chemotherapy. After delivery of a healthy child at 40 weeks of gestation, she received breast-conserving surgery and axillary dissection. Anti-HER2 antibody treatment with trastuzumab was started concomitantly with adjuvant radiotherapy. Endocrine treatment with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analog and tamoxifen for 5 years was planned to be started after radiotherapy.
Treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy requires an interdisciplinary approach and careful consideration of the patient's stage of disease, the gestational age, and the preferences of the patient and her family.
Pregnancy-associated breast cancer; Outcome of pregnancy; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; Interdisciplinary care
BACKGROUND: ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) may have anti-tumor properties. We investigated whether the use of ACEI/ARBs affects the clinical outcomes of primary breast cancer patients receiving taxane and anthracycline-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
METHODS: We included 1449 patients with diagnosis of invasive primary breast cancer diagnosed at the MD Anderson Cancer Center between 1995 and 2007 who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Of them, 160 (11%) patients were identified by review of their medical record, as ACEI/ARBs users. We compared pathologic complete response (pCR) rates, relapse-free survival (RFS), disease-specific survival (DSS) and overall survival (OS) between ACEI/ARB users and non-users. Descriptive statistics and Cox proportional hazards model were used in the analyses.
RESULTS: There was no difference in the pCR rates between ACEI/ARB users and non-users (16% vs 18.1%, p-=0.50). After adjustment for important demographic and clinical characteristics, no significant differences between ACEI/ARB users and nonusers were observed in RFS (HR=0.81; 95% CI=0.54-1.21), DSS (HR=0.83; 95% CI=0.52-1.31), or OS (HR=0.91; 95% CI =0.61-1.37). In a subgroup analysis, the 5-year RFS was 82% in ARB only users versus 71% in ACEI/ARB non-users (P=0.03). In the multivariable analysis, ARB use was also associated with a decreased risk of recurrence (HR=0.35; 95% CI=0.14-0.86). No statistically significant differences in DSS or OS were seen.
CONCLUSION: No differences in pCR and survival outcomes were seen between ACEI/ARB users and non-users among breast cancer patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy. ARB use may be associated with improved RFS. Further research is needed to validate this finding.
ACE inhibitor; ARB; breast cancer; neoadjuvant chemotherapy