High-dose chemotherapy with autologous peripheral blood progenitor cell support for primary breast cancer in patients with 4-9 involved axillary lymph nodes.
Breast cancer patients with more than three involved axillary lymph have a high likelihood of relapse after adjuvant therapy. Early results of administration of high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) and autologous peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPC) to patients with primary breast cancer and > or = 10 involved axillary nodes have been encouraging. We performed a multicenter trial to determine whether HDCT could be safely administered to patients with primary breast cancer involving 4-9 axillary lymph nodes. Fifty-four patients with stage II or III breast cancer and 4-9 involved axillary lymph nodes received doxorubicin-based induction chemotherapy, followed by high-dose cyclophosphamide (5.625 g/m2), cisplatin (165 mg/m2), and BCNU (450 mg/m2) and PBPC mobilized by sargramostim (GM-CSF) or filgrastim (G-CSF). After completion of HDCT, patients received radiation therapy to the chest wall or involved breast, plus tamoxifen. Survival and disease-free survival, time to engraftment, and charges associated with HDCT were determined. Plasma concentrations of BCNU were determined and plasma AUC(BCNU) was calculated. Fifty-four patients were evaluable for survival and relapse-free survival. Fifty-two patients received HDCT with PBPC support and were evaluable for toxicity. Fifteen patients (29%) developed late pulmonary drug toxicity, which resolved with a 10-week course of corticosteroids in all but one affected patient, who subsequently died of pulmonary toxicity. Ten patients relapsed a median of 426 days (range 86-1117 days) after the start of induction chemotherapy, seven of whom have died. Forty-three patients are alive and breast cancer-free at a median of 947 days (range 661-1730 days) after the start of therapy, including one patient who developed myelodysplastic syndrome 809 days after the start of HDCT. Actuarial 4-year survival and disease-free survival from the start of treatment are 84 and 71%, respectively. Mean plasma AUC(BCNU) was 400 (range 82-1255) microgxmin/ml and was not statistically different from that measured in historical controls who received 600 mg/m2 of BCNU. Combined hospital and physician charges for patients treated at the University of Colorado decreased from a mean of $125845 for the first four patients to $77126 for the final seven patients. We conclude that HDCT with autologous PBPC can be administered with acceptable safety to patients with primary breast cancer involving 4-9 axillary lymph nodes. An ongoing, prospective randomized trial is evaluating the efficacy of HDCT for this patient group.
Bearman, SI; Overmoyer, BA; Bolwell, BJ; Taylor, CW; Shpall, EJ; Cagnoni, PJ; Mechling, BE; Ronk, B; Barón, AE; Purdy, MH; Ross, M; Jones, RB
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