To determine the efficacy and safety of an anthracycline-free neo-adjuvant regimen consisting of weekly paclitaxel, carboplatin and trastuzumab in HER2-positive breast cancer.
One hundred and eleven patients were included in the study, and 108 were evaluable for the primary end-point. The pathologic complete response rate was 43% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 33-52). Median follow-up was 52 months, and the 3-year event-free survival was 88% (95% CI: 82-94), and the 3-year overall survival was 92% (95% CI: 88-98). The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were neutropenia (67%) and thrombocytopenia (43%). Less than five percent of patients experienced febrile neutropenia. No symptomatic left ventricular systolic dysfunction was observed during neo-adjuvant treatment.
Patients with stage II or III HER2-positive breast cancer received weekly paclitaxel ([P], 70 mg/m2), trastuzumab ([T], 2 mg/kg, loading dose 4 mg/kg) and carboplatin ([C], AUC = 3 mg ml-1 min) for 24 weeks. In weeks 7, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 24, trastuzumab was administered without chemotherapy. The primary end-point was pathologic complete response in the surgical resection specimen, defined as the absence of invasive tumour cells in breast and axilla.
An anthracycline-free neo-adjuvant regimen of weekly paclitaxel, trastuzumab and carboplatin is highly effective in HER2-positive breast cancer with manageable toxicity.