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Br J Cancer. 2002 Jul 29;87(3):281-8.

Predictors of long-term outcome following high-dose chemotherapy in high-risk primary breast cancer.

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Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, City of Hope National Medical Center, 1500 E Duarte Road, Duarte, California, CA 91010-3000, USA.


We report on a predictive model of long-term outcome in 114 high-risk breast cancer patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy between 1989 and 1994. Paraffin-blocks from 90 of the 114 primaries were assessed for the presence of five risk factors: grade, mitotic index, protein expression of p53, HER2/neu, and oestrogen/progesterone receptor status; we could analyse the effect of risk factors in 84 of these 90 tumours. Seven-year relapse-free and overall survival was 58% (95% confidence interval 44-74%) and 82% (95% confidence interval 71-94%) vs 33% (95% confidence interval 21-52%) and 41% (95% confidence interval 28-60%) for patients whose primary tumours displayed > or =3 risk factors vs patients with < or =2 risk factors. For the entire group of 168 high-risk breast cancer patients, inflammatory stage IIIB disease and involved post-mastectomy margins were associated with decreased relapse-free survival and overall survival; patients treated with non-doxorubicin containing standard adjuvant therapy experienced worse overall survival (RR, 2.08; 95% confidence interval 1.04 to 4.16; P=0.04), while adjuvant tamoxifen improved overall survival (RR, 0.65; 95% confidence interval 0.41-1.01; P=0.054). Future trial designs and patient selection for studies specific for high-risk breast cancer patients should include appropriate prognostic models. Validation of such models could come from recently completed randomised, prospective trials.

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