Purpose: Preoperative chemotherapy is the conventional primary treatment in locally advanced breast cancer (LABC). We investigated the safety and efficacy of primary twice-weekly paclitaxel and concurrent radiation (RT) before modified radical mastectomy followed by adjuvant doxorubicin-based chemotherapy. Patients and Methods: Stage IIB (T3N0) to III LABC patients were eligible. Primary chemoradiation consisted of paclitaxel, 30 mg/m2 delivered intravenously for 1 hour twice weekly for a total of 8 to 10 weeks, and concurrent RT (45 Gy at 1.8 Gy/fraction). Modified radical mastectomy was performed at least 2 weeks after completion of chemoradiation or on recovery of skin toxicity. Postoperatively, patients who responded to paclitaxel and RT received four cycles of doxorubicin/paclitaxel, whereas patients who did not respond received doxorubicin/cytoxan. Results: Forty-four patients were accrued. Toxicity from paclitaxel/RT included grade 3 skin desquamation (7%), hypersensitivity (2%), and stomatitis (2%). Postsurgery complications occurred in six patients (14%). The only grade 4 toxicity of postmastectomy chemotherapy was hematologic (10%). Grade 3 toxicities were leukopenia (24%), infection (22%), peripheral neuropathy (17%), arthralgia and pain (17%), stomatitis (12%), fatigue (10%), esophagitis (5%), and nausea (2%). Overall clinical response rate to preoperative paclitaxel and RT was 91%. Thirty-four percent of patients achieved a pathologic response in the mastectomy specimen: 16% pathologic complete responses (clearance of invasive cancer in the breast and axillary contents) and 18% pathologic partial responses (< 10 residual microscopic foci of invasive breast cancer). Conclusion: Twice-weekly paclitaxel with concurrent RT is a feasible and effective primary treatment for LABC. Future studies should compare primary chemoradiation to chemotherapy in LABC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research