High-dose chemotherapy with autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for high-risk primary breast cancer

Paolo Pedrazzoli, Massimo Martino, Sara Delfanti, Daniele Generali, Giovanni Rosti, Marco Bregni, Francesco Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:The efficacy of high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for breast cancer (BC) has been an area of intense controversy among the medical oncology community. Over the last decade, due to the presentation of negative results from early randomized studies, this approach has not longer been considered an option by the vast majority of medical oncologists. This article is aimed to clarify what happened and where we are now in this not exhausted field.Methods:We critically revised the published literature regarding HDC in the setting of high-risk BC, including a recent meta-analysis using individual patient data from 15 randomized studies.Results:A significant benefit by HDC in recurrence-free survival has been clearly documented in unselected patient populations. In HER2-negative population, particularly in the triple-negative disease, a positive effect of intensified therapy in overall survival is biologically plausible and supported by clinical evidence. Over the years HDC with support of adequate number of stem cells has become a safe treatment modality.Conclusions:The administration of higher doses of chemotherapy with stem cell support may still represent a therapeutic option (and not a recommendation) in selected BC patients. This approach should be investigated further.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-75
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute - Monographs
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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