, Volume 132, Issue 2, pp 589-600
Date: 18 Nov 2011

Phase II trial of preoperative paclitaxel, gemcitabine, and trastuzumab combination therapy in HER2 positive stage II/III breast cancer: The Korean Cancer Study Group BR 07-01

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An addition of trastuzumab preoperatively to chemotherapy for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive breast cancer improved relapse-free survival (RFS). This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of preoperative paclitaxel, gemcitabine, and trastuzumab (PGH) combination for HER2-positive breast caner. Pathologically, proven node positive stage II/III breast cancer patients with adequate organ function and no history of anti-cancer therapy were eligible. Patients received weekly trastuzumab with paclitaxel 80 mg/m2 and gemcitabine 1,200 mg/m2 on days 1 and 8, every 3 weeks for 6 cycles. Postoperatively, patients completed trastuzumab for 1 year and hormone therapy for 5 years if indicated. All patients received postoperative radiation therapy. Of 53 enrolled patients with a median tumor of 5.3 (range, 2.0 to >12) cm; 43.4%, T3/T4; 75.4%, N2/N3; and 45.3%, positive hormone receptors. The pathologic complete response (pCR) rate was 58.5% in both tumor and lymph nodes. Grade 3/4 adverse events were neutropenia (32%), febrile neutropenia (0.6%), and transient elevation of AST/ALT (1.6%) during a total of 318 cycles. All patients maintained normal cardiac function. With a median follow-up of 40 months, 3-year RFS rate was 84% with 91.7% distant metastasis-free survival rates. Remarkable pCR rate was obtained with non-anthracycline-based PGH therapy for HER2-positive stage II/III breast cancer. Adverse events were mild with few incidences of febrile neutropenia.

Seock-Ah Im and Keun Seok Lee contributed equally to this study.
Presented in part at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Breast cancer symposium, October 1–3, 2010, Washington, DC and at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, December 12–14, 2008, San Antonio, TX.