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J Clin Oncol. 1994 Jan;12(1):37-44.

Double dose-intensive chemotherapy with autologous marrow and peripheral-blood progenitor-cell support for metastatic breast cancer: a feasibility study.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, MA 02115.



Twenty-seven percent of responding metastatic breast cancer patients remain progression-free a median 29 months following one intensification course of cyclophosphamide (6,000 mg/m2), thiotepa (500 mg/m2), and carboplatin (800 mg/m2) (CTCb) with autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT). European investigators report high complete response (CR) rates with melphalan for breast cancer. This trial studied the feasibility of two tandem high-dose intensification therapies in an attempt to optimize disease response and duration.


Women with at least partial responses (PRs) to induction therapy received melphalan (140 to 180 mg/m2), followed 24 hours later by chemotherapy and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF)-mobilized peripheral-blood progenitor cells (PBPCs) and subsequent G-CSF until WBC recovery. The women were monitored as outpatients. After recovery, patients were hospitalized for CTCb with marrow, PBPC, and G-CSF support.


Twenty women were assessable. Fourteen (70%) required admission for fever (10% infection) or mucositis (35%) after melphalan (median stay, 5 days). Median days of absolute neutrophil count (ANC) less than 500/microL and platelet count less than 20,000/microL were 6 and 5.5, respectively. Patients received CTCb 25 days after starting melphalan and had a hospital stay of 25 days. After CTCb, median days of ANC less than 500/microL and platelet count less than 20,000/microL were 11.5 and 24, respectively. Grade 3 toxicities included venoocclusive disease (VOD) (10%), mucositis (45%), and infection (20%). Toxicities were reversible without mortality.


With mobilized PBPCs and growth factors, double dose-intensive chemotherapy is feasible with acceptable toxicity. When compared with trials using marrow alone, these supportive adjuncts decrease sepsis and organ toxicity. The concepts of dose and dose-intensity may now be more effectively and safely studied in chemosensitive tumors, including breast cancer.

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