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      Long-term outcomes for neoadjuvant versus adjuvant chemotherapy in early breast cancer: meta-analysis of individual patient data from ten randomised trials

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      Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group (EBCTCG)

      The Lancet. Oncology

      Lancet Pub. Group

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          Summary

          Background

          Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) for early breast cancer can make breast-conserving surgery more feasible and might be more likely to eradicate micrometastatic disease than might the same chemotherapy given after surgery. We investigated the long-term benefits and risks of NACT and the influence of tumour characteristics on outcome with a collaborative meta-analysis of individual patient data from relevant randomised trials.

          Methods

          We obtained information about prerandomisation tumour characteristics, clinical tumour response, surgery, recurrence, and mortality for 4756 women in ten randomised trials in early breast cancer that began before 2005 and compared NACT with the same chemotherapy given postoperatively. Primary outcomes were tumour response, extent of local therapy, local and distant recurrence, breast cancer death, and overall mortality. Analyses by intention-to-treat used standard regression (for response and frequency of breast-conserving therapy) and log-rank methods (for recurrence and mortality).

          Findings

          Patients entered the trials from 1983 to 2002 and median follow-up was 9 years (IQR 5–14), with the last follow-up in 2013. Most chemotherapy was anthracycline based (3838 [81%] of 4756 women). More than two thirds (1349 [69%] of 1947) of women allocated NACT had a complete or partial clinical response. Patients allocated NACT had an increased frequency of breast-conserving therapy (1504 [65%] of 2320 treated with NACT vs 1135 [49%] of 2318 treated with adjuvant chemotherapy). NACT was associated with more frequent local recurrence than was adjuvant chemotherapy: the 15 year local recurrence was 21·4% for NACT versus 15·9% for adjuvant chemotherapy (5·5% increase [95% CI 2·4–8·6]; rate ratio 1·37 [95% CI 1·17–1·61]; p=0·0001). No significant difference between NACT and adjuvant chemotherapy was noted for distant recurrence (15 year risk 38·2% for NACT vs 38·0% for adjuvant chemotherapy; rate ratio 1·02 [95% CI 0·92–1·14]; p=0·66), breast cancer mortality (34·4% vs 33·7%; 1·06 [0·95–1·18]; p=0·31), or death from any cause (40·9% vs 41·2%; 1·04 [0·94–1·15]; p=0·45).

          Interpretation

          Tumours downsized by NACT might have higher local recurrence after breast-conserving therapy than might tumours of the same dimensions in women who have not received NACT. Strategies to mitigate the increased local recurrence after breast-conserving therapy in tumours downsized by NACT should be considered—eg, careful tumour localisation, detailed pathological assessment, and appropriate radiotherapy.

          Funding

          Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, UK Medical Research Council, and UK Department of Health.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Pathological complete response and long-term clinical benefit in breast cancer: the CTNeoBC pooled analysis.

          Pathological complete response has been proposed as a surrogate endpoint for prediction of long-term clinical benefit, such as disease-free survival, event-free survival (EFS), and overall survival (OS). We had four key objectives: to establish the association between pathological complete response and EFS and OS, to establish the definition of pathological complete response that correlates best with long-term outcome, to identify the breast cancer subtypes in which pathological complete response is best correlated with long-term outcome, and to assess whether an increase in frequency of pathological complete response between treatment groups predicts improved EFS and OS. We searched PubMed, Embase, and Medline for clinical trials of neoadjuvant treatment of breast cancer. To be eligible, studies had to meet three inclusion criteria: include at least 200 patients with primary breast cancer treated with preoperative chemotherapy followed by surgery; have available data for pathological complete response, EFS, and OS; and have a median follow-up of at least 3 years. We compared the three most commonly used definitions of pathological complete response--ypT0 ypN0, ypT0/is ypN0, and ypT0/is--for their association with EFS and OS in a responder analysis. We assessed the association between pathological complete response and EFS and OS in various subgroups. Finally, we did a trial-level analysis to assess whether pathological complete response could be used as a surrogate endpoint for EFS or OS. We obtained data from 12 identified international trials and 11 955 patients were included in our responder analysis. Eradication of tumour from both breast and lymph nodes (ypT0 ypN0 or ypT0/is ypN0) was better associated with improved EFS (ypT0 ypN0: hazard ratio [HR] 0·44, 95% CI 0·39-0·51; ypT0/is ypN0: 0·48, 0·43-0·54) and OS (0·36, 0·30-0·44; 0·36, 0·31-0·42) than was tumour eradication from the breast alone (ypT0/is; EFS: HR 0·60, 95% CI 0·55-0·66; OS 0·51, 0·45-0·58). We used the ypT0/is ypN0 definition for all subsequent analyses. The association between pathological complete response and long-term outcomes was strongest in patients with triple-negative breast cancer (EFS: HR 0·24, 95% CI 0·18-0·33; OS: 0·16, 0·11-0·25) and in those with HER2-positive, hormone-receptor-negative tumours who received trastuzumab (EFS: 0·15, 0·09-0·27; OS: 0·08, 0·03, 0·22). In the trial-level analysis, we recorded little association between increases in frequency of pathological complete response and EFS (R(2)=0·03, 95% CI 0·00-0·25) and OS (R(2)=0·24, 0·00-0·70). Patients who attain pathological complete response defined as ypT0 ypN0 or ypT0/is ypN0 have improved survival. The prognostic value is greatest in aggressive tumour subtypes. Our pooled analysis could not validate pathological complete response as a surrogate endpoint for improved EFS and OS. US Food and Drug Administration. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Preoperative Chemotherapy in Patients With Operable Breast Cancer: Nine-Year Results From National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project B-18

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              Response-guided neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer.

              We investigated disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) after response-guided neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with early breast cancer. We treated 2,072 patients with two cycles of docetaxel, doxorubicin, and cyclophosphamide (TAC) and randomly assigned early responders to four (n = 704) or six (n = 686) additional TAC cycles, and early nonresponders to four cycles of TAC (n = 321) or vinorelbine and capecitabine (NX; n = 301) before surgery. DFS was longer in early responders receiving TAC × 8 than in those receiving TAC × 6 (hazard ratio [HR], 0.78; 95% CI, 0.62 to 0.97; P = .026), and in early nonresponders receiving TAC-NX than in those receiving TAC × 6 (HR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.49 to 0.82; P = .001). Exploratory analysis showed that DFS after response-guided chemotherapy (TAC × 8 or TAC-NX) was significantly longer (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.60 to 0.85; P < .003), as was OS (HR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.63 to 0.99; P = .048), than on conventional chemotherapy (TAC × 6). DFS was longer after response-guided chemotherapy in all hormone receptor-positive tumors (luminal A HR = 0.55, luminal B [human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) negative] HR = 0.40, and luminal B [HER2 positive] HR = 0.56), but not in hormone receptor-negative tumors (HER2 positive [nonluminal] HR = 1.01 and triple negative HR = 0.87). Pathologic complete response did not predict these survival effects. pCR predicted an improved DFS in triple-negative (HR = 6.67), HER2-positive (nonluminal; HR 5.24), or luminal B (HER2-negative) tumors (HR = 3.74). This exploratory analysis suggests that response-guided neoadjuvant chemotherapy might improve survival and is most effective in hormone receptor-positive tumors. If confirmed, the response-guided approach could provide a clinically meaningful advantage for the neoadjuvant over the adjuvant approach in early breast cancer.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Lancet Oncol
                Lancet Oncol
                The Lancet. Oncology
                Lancet Pub. Group
                1470-2045
                1474-5488
                1 January 2018
                January 2018
                : 19
                : 1
                : 27-39
                Author notes
                Article
                S1470-2045(17)30777-5
                10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30777-5
                5757427
                29242041
                9f5d2bf6-1d6c-490b-b9d7-34333fe2af34
                © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license

                This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                Categories
                Article

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

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