Small French Study Shows Longer Time to Relapse for High-Dose Chemotherapy in Metastatic Breast Cancer

University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center
Last Modified: May 15, 1999

Begun in 1992, this study of 61 women with metastatic breast cancer responsive to chemotherapy, who were randomized to receive either high-dose chemotherapy supported by stem cell transplant, or standard doses of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy regimen used in the high-dose arm was cyclophosphamide, mitoxantrone and Melphalan (CMA), while patients on the standard dose arm received conventional anthracycline-based chemotherapy. The study was conducted by Jean-Pierre Lotz, MD, and colleagues at Hopital Tenon in Paris.

After five years of follow-up, there was no statistically significant difference in progression-free survival or overall survival. The overall survival rate was 18.5% in the standard-dose arm, and 29.8% in the high-dose arm. The cancer relapse rate at three years was 79.3% in the standard-dose arm, and 50.8% in the high-dose arm. At five years, the relapse rates were nearly identical: 90.8% and 90.7%, respectively.

This delay in relapse for patients on high-dose chemotherapy could potentially offer a better quality of life with a longer "off-therapy" period.

No cardiac events were observed in the high-dose arm, and there were no therapy-related deaths or unusual toxicities.