Minimal residual disease in metastatic breast cancer: Treatment with IFN-β, retinoids, and tamoxifen

Francesco Recchia, Luigi Frati, Silvio Rea, Pierfederico Torchio, Gigliola Sica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this pilot study was to investigate if chemotherapy (CT) followed by the combination of interferon-β (IFN-β), retinoids, and tamoxifen could be effective in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Thirty-six patients with stage IV carcinoma of the breast were treated with six courses of cyclophosphamide, 5-fluorouracil, 4-epidoxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone every 3 weeks (FECPV), followed by two courses of non-cross-resistant drugs, methotrexate, mitomycin C, and mitoxantrone (MMM). Treatment was continued, in responders, with low dose IFN-β, retinyl palmitate, and tamoxifen until relapse of the disease occurred. Among 36 evaluable patients, 23 achieved a clinical response (64%) (95% confidence interval [c.i.] 46%-79%), 7 had stable disease (19%), and 6 (17%) progressed. Leukopenia occurred in 15 patients, thrombocytopenia in 6, and anemia in 11. Sixteen patients had nausea/vomiting, stomatitis was observed in 9, and diarrhea occurred in 3. Toxicity from maintenance therapy was mild and mainly hepatic. Median response duration was 31 months (range 5-107). Median overall survival was 32 months (9-108). Our study shows that this combined approach for the treatment of MBC is feasible, with an acceptable toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Cell Biology


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