Br J Cancer. 2010 Jul 27;103(3):297-302. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605769. Epub 2010 Jul 6.
Predictors of recurrence in breast cancer patients with a pathologic complete response after neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
BACKGROUND: Although a pathologic complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy is associated with favourable outcomes, a small proportion of patients with pCR have recurrence. This study was designed to identify factors predictive of recurrence in patients with pCR.
METHODS: A total of 449 breast cancer patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and 88 evaluable patients had a pCR, defined as no evidence of invasive carcinoma in the breast at surgery. The clinical stage was II in 61 patients (69%), III in 27 (31%). All patients received taxanes and 92% received anthracyclines. Among 43 patients with HER2-positive tumours, 27 received trastuzumab. Cox regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of recurrence.
RESULTS: Median follow-up was 46.0 months. There were 12 recurrences, including 8 distant metastases. The rate of locoregional recurrence was 10.4% after breast-conserving surgery, as compared with 2.5% after mastectomy. Multivariate analysis revealed that axillary metastases (hazard ratio (HR), 13.6; P<0.0001) and HER2-positive disease (HR, 5.0; P<0.019) were significant predictors of recurrence. Five of six patients with both factors had recurrence. Inclusion of trastuzumab was not an independent predictor among patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.
CONCLUSION: Our study results suggest that HER2 status and axillary metastases are independent predictors of recurrence in patients with pCR.