Background and Objectives
Several trials have generated conflicting results about the results of high-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT) for primary breast cancer. This meta-analysis summarizes the available evidence from all suitable studies.
Design and Methods
Prospective, randomized trials with HDCT as a first-line therapy for primary breast cancer were included in this meta-analysis. The primary outcome of interest for our analysis was survival (disease-free survival and overall survival); secondary endpoints included treatment-related mortality (TRM) and second (non-breast) cancers. We used a median age of 47, a PR positive rate of 50% and a premenopausal rate of 70% as cutoff values to complete the subgroup analyses, which were pre-planned according to the prepared protocol.
Fourteen trials with 5747 patients were eligible for the meta-analysis. Compared with non-HDCT, non-significant second (non-breast) cancers (RR = 1.28; 95% CI = 0.82–1.98) and higher TRM (RR = 3.42; 95% CI = 1.32–8.86) were associated with HDCT for primary breast cancer. A significant DFS benefit of HDCT was documented (HR = 0.89; 95% CI = 0.79–0.99). No difference in OS (overall survival) was found when the studies were pooled (HR = 0.91; 95% CI = 0.82–1.00, p = 0.062). In subgroup analysis, age and hormone receptor status had a significant interaction with prolonged DFS and OS.
HDCT has a benefit on DFS and OS compared to SDC in some special patients with high-risk primary breast cancer.