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Real-World Outcomes of Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Node-Negative and Node-Positive HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Zachary Veitch, Omar F. Khan, Derek Tilley, Domen Ribnikar, Xanthoula Kostaras, Karen King, Patricia Tang, and Sasha Lupichuk

Background: Comparative real-world outcomes for patients with HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer receiving adjuvant trastuzumab outside of clinical trials are lacking. This study sought to retrospectively characterize outcomes for patients with node-negative and node-positive breast cancer receiving adjuvant trastuzumab in combination with docetaxel/cyclophosphamide (DCH), docetaxel/carboplatin/trastuzumab (TCH), or fluorouracil/epirubicin/cyclophosphamide followed by docetaxel/trastuzumab (FEC-DH) chemotherapy in Alberta, Canada, from 2007 through 2014. Methods: Disease-free survival and overall survival (OS) analyses for node-negative cohorts receiving DCH (n=111) or TCH (n=371) and node-positive cohorts receiving FEC-DH (n=146) or TCH (n=315) were compared using chi-square, Kaplan-Meier, or Cox multivariable analysis where appropriate. Results: Median follow-up was similar in node-negative (63.9 months) and node-positive (69.0 months) cohorts. The 5-year OS rates in patients with node-negative disease receiving DCH or TCH were similar (95.2% vs 96.9%; P=.268), whereas 5-year OS rates were higher but nonsignificant for patients with node-positive disease treated with FEC-DH compared with TCH (95.2% vs 91.4%; P=.160). Subgroup analysis of node-positive cohorts showed significantly improved OS with FEC-DH versus TCH in patients with estrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PR)–positive breast cancer (98.3% vs 91.6%, respectively; P=.014). Conversely, patients with ER/PR-negative disease showed a nonsignificant trend toward higher OS rates with TCH versus FEC-DH (91.6% vs 83.3%, respectively; P=.298). Given the retrospective design, we were unable to capture all potential covariates that may have impacted treatment assignment and/or outcomes. Furthermore, cardiac toxicity data were unavailable. Conclusions: Survival rates of patients with HER2+ breast cancer in our study are comparable to those seen in clinical trials. Our findings support chemotherapy de-escalation in patients with node-negative disease and validate the efficacy of FEC-DH in those with node-positive disease.

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Impact of Cumulative Chemotherapy Dose on Survival With Adjuvant FEC-D Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

Zachary Veitch, Omar F. Khan, Derek Tilley, Patricia A. Tang, Domen Ribnikar, Douglas A. Stewart, Xanthoula Kostaras, Karen King, and Sasha Lupichuk

Background: Reductions in adjuvant chemotherapy dose <85% for historical regimens (ie, cyclophosphamide/methotrexate/fluorouracil) are known to affect breast cancer survival. This threshold, in addition to early versus late dose reductions, are poorly defined for third-generation anthracycline/taxane-based chemotherapy. In patients with breast cancer receiving adjuvant 5-fluorouracil/epirubicin/cyclophosphamide followed by docetaxel (FEC-D), we evaluated the impact of chemotherapy total cumulative dose (TCD), and early (FEC) versus late (D only) dose reductions, on survival outcomes. Patients and Methods: Women with stage I–III, hormone receptor–positive/negative, HER2-negative breast cancer treated with adjuvant FEC-D chemotherapy from 2007 through 2014 in Alberta, Canada, were included. TCD for cycles 1 to 6 of <85% or ≥85% was calculated. Average cumulative dose was also calculated for early (cycles 1–3) and late (cycles 4–6) chemotherapy. Survival outcomes (disease-free survival [DFS] and overall survival [OS]) were estimated using Kaplan-Meier and multivariate analysis. Cohorts were evaluated for uniformity. Results: Characteristics were reasonably balanced for all cohorts. Overall, 1,302 patients were evaluated for dose reductions, with 16% being reduced <85% (n=202) relative to ≥85% (n=1,100; 84%). Patients who received TCD ≥85% relative to <85% had superior 5-year DFS (P=.025) and OS (P<.001) according to Kaplan-Meier analysis, which remained significant on univariate and multivariate analyses. In stratified late and early dose reduction cohorts, DFS and OS showed a significant inferior survival trend for dose reduction early in treatment administration in 5-year Kaplan-Meier (P=.002 and P<.001, respectively) and multivariate analyses (hazard ratio [HR], 1.46; P=.073, and HR, 1.77; P=.011, respectively). Dose delays of <14 or ≥14 days and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor use did not affect outcomes. Conclusions: Chemotherapy TCD <85% for adjuvant FEC-D affects breast cancer survival. Late reductions (D only) were not shown to adversely affect DFS or OS. Conversely, early reductions (FEC±D) negatively affected patient outcomes.