Research Papers: Gerotarget (Focus on Aging):

Outcome after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in elderly breast cancer patients – a pooled analysis of individual patient data from eight prospectively randomized controlled trials

Gabriel von Waldenfels _, Sibylle Loibl, Jenny Furlanetto, Anna Machleidt, Bianca Lederer, Carsten Denkert, Claus Hanusch, Sherko Kümmel, Gunter von Minckwitz, Andreas Schneeweiss, Michael Untch, Kerstin Rhiem, Peter A. Fasching and Jens-Uwe Blohmer

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:15168-15179. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24586

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Gabriel von Waldenfels1, Sibylle Loibl2, Jenny Furlanetto2, Anna Machleidt1, Bianca Lederer2, Carsten Denkert3, Claus Hanusch4, Sherko Kümmel5, Gunter von Minckwitz2, Andreas Schneeweiss6, Michael Untch7, Kerstin Rhiem8, Peter A. Fasching9 and Jens-Uwe Blohmer1

1Department of Gynecology and Breast Center, Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany

2German Breast Group, Neu-Isenburg, Germany

3Institute of Pathology, Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany

4Rotkreuzklinikum, Munich, Germany

5Breast Center, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Essen, Germany

6National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), Heidelberg, Germany

7HELIOS Klinikum Berlin-Buch, Berlin, Germany

8Center for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer, University Hospital Cologne, Köln, Germany

9Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital Erlangen, Comprehensive Cancer Center Erlangen-EMN, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany

Correspondence to:

Gabriel von Waldenfels, email: [email protected]

Keywords: elderly; pCR; neoadjuvant; breast; cancer survival; Gerotarget

Received: July 11, 2017     Accepted: February 13, 2018     Epub: February 26, 2018     Published: March 16, 2018


Introduction: Recent studies showed the high and independent impact of age (<40 years) on pathologic complete response (pCR) and prognosis for patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). Some physicians might not consider elderly patients (>65 years) for NACT due to poor prognosis or higher toxicity. The aim of this analysis is to help selecting appropriately elderly women who would benefit from NACT. Secondly, survival parameters are investigated in several histological subgroups.

Methods: From 1998 to 2010, eight prospectively randomized German Breast Group (GBG) trials of anthracycline- and taxane-based NACT were performed and analyzed in this study.

Results: Compared to the overall average, elderly women had significant larger tumors and more overall lymph node involvement. Histologically, they had more G2 tumors, more estrogen-receptor positive tumors. pCR (ypT0 ypN0) was strongly associated with age. The multivariable logistic regression analysis of clinical parameters showed that young age, clinical stage T4, invasive ductal cancer and poor differentiated breast cancer are predictive for high pCR. The multivariate analyses of molecular subgroups showed that age >65years is a predictor of significant lower pCR in HER2 breast cancers. Nonetheless, HER2+ patients showed pCR rates as high and HR+/HER2+ even higher - pCR rates compared to younger patients.

Discussion: This study underlines the unfavorable impact of higher age on pCR, but it shows a realistic chance for pCR if NACT is applied - especially for HER2+ patients. Furthermore, elderly patients with non-TNBC showed a good prognosis (comparable to younger patients) regarding overall survival, even if they do not have pCR.

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