Despite modern chemotherapy, advanced breast cancer remains a significant cause of cancer morbidity and mortality in women. Patients with disease involvement of multiple lymph nodes represent a subgroup with a high risk of relapse. In particular, 50% of patients with 4 to 9 axillary lymph nodes involved will relapse after standard chemotherapy. In an effort to improve the survival of patients with 4 to 9 involved nodes, we performed a phase II study in which 61 patients with surgically diagnosed stage II or III breast cancer and 4 to 9 positive lymph nodes received 3 cycles of doxorubicin and 5-fluorouracil followed by high-dose chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, and carmustine and infusion of autologous hematopoietic progenitor cells. All patients received posttransplantation localized radiotherapy unless contraindicated, and all patients with hormone receptor-positive disease received tamoxifen. After a median patient follow-up of 6.7 years (range, 4.6-8.6 years), the 5-year overall survival rate was 79% (95% CI, 69%-90%), with relapse-free survival of 73% (95% CI, 62%-85%). Treatment-related mortality was 3%. Interstitial pneumonitis occurred in 69% of patients but did not contribute to mortality. Our study presents long-term favorable results regarding the use of consolidative HDC with autologous hematopoietic support in previously untreated patients with high-risk primary breast cancer.
- Autologous hematopoietic cell rescue
- Multinodal involvement
- Multinode-positive breast cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas