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High-dose chemotherapy with autologous hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation in metastatic breast cancer: overview of six randomized trials

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 12:41 authored by Donald A Berry, Naoto T Ueno, Marcella M Johnson, Xiudong Lei, Jean Caputo, Dori A Smith, Linda J Yancey, Michael Crump, Edward A Stadtmauer, Pierre Biron, John P Crown, Peter Schmid, Jean-Pierre Lotz, Giovanni Rosti, Marco Bregni, Taner Demirer
PURPOSE High doses of effective chemotherapy are compelling if they can be delivered safely. Substantial interest in supporting high-dose chemotherapy with bone marrow or autologous hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation in the 1980s and 1990s led to the initiation of randomized trials to evaluate its effect in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. METHODS We identified six randomized trials in metastatic breast cancer that evaluated high doses of chemotherapy with transplant support versus a control regimen without stem-cell support. We assembled a single database containing individual patient information from these trials. The primary analysis of overall survival was a log-rank test comparing high dose versus control. We also used Cox proportional hazards regression, adjusting for known covariates. We addressed potential treatment differences within subsets of patients. RESULTS The effect of high-dose chemotherapy on overall survival was not statistically different (median, 2.16 v 2.02 years; P = .08). A statistically significant advantage in progression-free survival (median, 0.91 v 0.69 years) did not translate into survival benefit. Subset analyses found little evidence that there are groups of patients who might benefit from high-dose chemotherapy with hematopoietic support. CONCLUSION Overall survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer in the six randomized trials was not significantly improved by high-dose chemotherapy; any benefit from high doses was small. No identifiable subset of patients seems to benefit from high-dose chemotherapy.


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  • Published


Journal of Clinical Oncology




American Society of Clinical Oncology





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  • Clinical and Experimental Medicine Publications

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