Response to cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil in lymph node-positive breast cancer according to HER2 overexpression and other tumor biologic variables

S. Ménard, P. Valagussa, S. Pilotti, L. Gianni, E. Biganzoli, P. Boracchi, G. Tomasic, P. Casalini, E. Marubini, M. I. Colnaghi, N. Cascinelli, G. Bonadonna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: There is considerable interest in biologic markers able to predict the response of cancer patients to therapy. HER2 overexpression is a potential indicator of responsiveness to doxorubicin and paclitaxel and of unresponsiveness to tamoxifen in breast carcinoma patients. However, the significance of HER2 overexpression in responsiveness to cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil (CMF) has remained unclear. In this study, we investigated this issue in the 386 breast cancer patients in the first CMF controlled clinical trial with a 20-year follow-up. Patients and Methods: Node-positive breast carcinoma patients were randomly assigned to receive either no further treatment after radical mastectomy (179 women) or 12 monthly cycles of adjuvant CMF chemotherapy (207 women). Overexpression of HER2 and the status of other tumor variables was assessed by immunohistochemistry in at least 324 (84%) of the 386 patients. Statistical analyses were performed to assess the efficacy of CMF treatment for the subgroups defined by HER2 and the status of other variables using a Bayesian approach. The end points considered were relapse-free survival (RFS) and cause-specific survival (CSS). Results: Bayesian analysis of the treatment effect for HER2 and other variables indicated a clinical benefit from CMF treatment in all subgroups defined according to variables status. In particular regarding HER2 status, Bayesian estimates of los hazard ratios were equal to 0.484 and 0.641 and estimates of CSS hazard ratios were equal to 0.495 and 0.730 for HER2-positive and -negative tumors, respectively. Conclusion: CMF treatment showed a clinical benefit in the considered subgroups, defined according to HER2 and other tumor variables status. Patients with HER2-positive or HER2-negative tumors benefit from CMF treatment, and the poor prognosis associated with the HER2 overexpression in the untreated group could be completely overcome by the chemotherapy treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-335
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Volume19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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