CHARLOTTE, North CarolinaDose-intense, dose-dense neoadjuvant docetaxel (Taxotere)
/vinorelbine (Navelbine) produced a pathologic complete response rate of 36% in
women with locally advanced breast cancer, making the combination among the
most active ever tested in this setting, according to investigator Steven A.
Limentani, MD. Preliminary study results also suggest the regimen is safe and
"The goal (of neoadjuvant therapy), of course, is to have a high pathologic
complete response, because that has been well correlated with overall survival
and disease-free survival," Dr. Limentani said. He is co-director of the breast
cancer program, Blumenthal Cancer Center, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte,
Two Ongoing Trials
The data Dr. Limentani reported come from two separate ongoing neoadjuvant
trials. In the first, women with stage IIA-IIIB and locoregional stage IV
breast cancer receive docetaxel (60 mg/m2) and vinorelbine (45 mg/m2)
with G-CSF and quinolone prophylaxis every 2 weeks for six cycles. The second
trial includes women with stage IIB-IIIB and locoregional stage IV breast
cancer and HER2 overexpression; they receive the same docetaxel/vinorelbine
regimen plus weekly trastuzumab (Herceptin). After surgery, patients in both
trials receive doxorubicin (60 mg/m2) and cyclophosphamide (600 mg/m2)
every 3 weeks for four cycles.
Forty-seven patients (age range 27 to 66 years) have been enrolled,
including eight who received trastuzu-mab, Dr. Limentani reported. The average
tumor size was 6.5 cm, and about 75% of patients had clinically palpable nodes.
Of 36 patients evaluable for efficacy, 18 (50%) had a clinical complete
response, while another 17 (47%) had a partial response, for an overall
response rate of 97%. One patient (3%) had progression of disease.
Pathologic response by National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP)
criteria was seen in 12 of 33 patients evaluated (36%). This exceeds the rate
seen in the NSABP B-27 protocol (sequential docetaxel added to doxorubicin and
cyclophosphamide [Cytoxan, Neosar] vs doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide alone).
"The critical finding here is that using 3 months of therapy, we have a
pathologic complete response rate of 36%, which is higher than what was seen in
B-27, with half the duration of therapy and no anthracycline, in a group of
patients who were far more advanced," Dr. Limentani noted.