Predicting early failure after adjuvant chemotherapy in high-risk breast cancer patients with extensive lymph node involvement.



There is limited knowledge of risk factors for breast cancer recurrence within 2 years. This study aimed to predict early failure and identify high-risk patients for prognostic and therapeutic purposes.


Early failure is associated with poor survival. The combination of three commonly determined parameters constitutes a strong predictive model for early failure and death.


Early failure occurred in 19% (n = 137). Median survival after early failure was limited to 0.7 year. Estrogen and progesterone receptor negativity and visceral relapse predicted poor prognosis. Early failure was associated with young age, large tumors, high histological grade, angio-invasion, apical node metastasis, and >/=10 involved nodes. Estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and p27 negativity; HER2 overexpression; and p53 positivity also predicted early failure. The surgical or chemotherapy regimen and histological type did not. The same parameters except tumor size were associated with early death. Grade III, >/=10 involved nodes, and estrogen receptor negativity were independently associated with early failure and together identified a subset of patients (7%) with 3-fold increased early failure and 5-fold increased early death.


We studied 739 patients from a randomized trial who were <56 years of age and had >/=4 or more positive lymph nodes, no distant metastases, and no previous other malignancies. After complete surgical treatment, patients received conventional-dose anthracycline-based chemotherapy or a high-dose scheme of anthracycline-based plus alkylating chemotherapy. We assessed clinical and (immuno)histological parameters to predict recurrence within 2 years.

More about this publication

Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research
  • Volume 10
  • Issue nr. 13
  • Pages 4457-63
  • Publication date 01-07-2004

This site uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.