Publications 2007

Exemestane as primary systemic treatment for hormone receptor positive post-menopausal breast cancer patients: a phase II trial of the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG-17)

Brigitte Mlineritsch, Christoph Tausch, Christian Singer, Gero Luschin-Ebengreuth, Raimund Jakesz, Ferdinand Ploner, Michael Stierer, Elisabeth Melbinger, Christian Menzel, Andrea Urbania, Michael Fridrik, Günther Steger, Peter Wohlmuth, Michael Gnant, Richard Greil, on behalf of the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group

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Abstract

Background A multicenter phase II study was conducted to analyze the clinical activity of the steroidal aromatase inhibitor exemestane in the neoadjuvant treatment of post-menopausal women with strongly ER- and/or PgR- positive operable breast cancer.

Patients and methods: From September 2000 to December 2003, 80 women were recruited for treatment with exemestane 25 mg once daily for 4 months. The primary end-point was the clinical response rate according the WHO criteria; the secondary end-points included toxicity and the number of patients who qualified for breast conserving surgery at the end of treatment, comparability of evaluation methods for response, potential alterations of hormone receptor and Her2/neu status during treatment.

Results: On an intention to evaluate analysis, according to the prespecified criteria the overall clinical objective response rate was 34%, the pCR rate was 3% and the rate of breast conserving surgery was 76%. When sonographic and mammographic longitudinal measurements were included in patients with missing palpation data, response rates were 38% and 41%, respectively. The tumor response was independent of the Her2/neu status which remained unchanged during treatment. In contrast, while the ER expression remained unaltered, downregulation of the PgR was observed. The treatment was well tolerated with no grade 3 and 4 toxicities except gastrointestinal (one grade 3 case) and hot flushes (two grade 3 cases).

Conclusion: This study shows that exemestane is effective and safe as a preoperative therapy in post-menopausal patients with strongly hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Res Treat DOI 10.1007/s 10549-007-9843-x

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Zoledronic Acid Prevents Cancer Treatment?Induced Bone Loss in Premenopausal Women Receiving Adjuvant Endocrine Therapy for Hormone-Responsive Breast Cancer: A Report From the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group

Michael F. X. Gnant, Brigitte Mlineritsch, Gero Luschin-Ebengreuth, Stephan Grampp, Helmut Kaessmann, Marianne Schmid, Christian Menzel, Jutta Claudia Piswanger-Soelkner, Arik Galid, Martina Mittlboeck, Hubert Hausmaninger, and Raimund Jakesz

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Abstract

Purpose Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer can be associated with decreased bone mineral density (BMD) that may lead to skeletal morbidity. This study examined whether zoledronic acid can prevent bone loss associated with adjuvant endocrine therapy in premenopausal patients.

Patients and Methods This study is a randomized, open-label, phase III, four-arm trial comparing tamoxifen (20 mg/d orally) and goserelin (3.6 mg every 28 days subcutaneously) ± zoledronic acid (4 mg intravenously every 6 months) versus anastrozole (1 mg/d orally) and goserelin ± zoledronic acid for 3 years in premenopausal women with hormone-responsive breast cancer. In a BMD subprotocol at three trial centers, patients underwent serial BMD measurements at 0, 6, 12, 24, and 36 months.

Results Four hundred one patients were included in the BMD subprotocol. Endocrine treatment without zoledronic acid led to significant (P < .001) overall bone loss after 3 years of treatment (BMD, –14.4% after 36 months; mean T score reduction, –1.4). Overall bone loss was significantly more severe in patients receiving anastrozole/goserelin (BMD, –17.3%; mean T score reduction, –2.6) compared with patients receiving tamoxifen/goserelin (BMD, –11.6%; mean T score reduction, –1.1). In contrast, BMD remained stable in zoledronic acid–treated patients (P < .0001 compared with endocrine therapy alone). No interactions with age or other risk factors were noted.

Conclusion Endocrine therapy caused significant bone loss that increased with treatment duration in premenopausal women with breast cancer. Zoledronic acid 4 mg every 6 months effectively inhibited bone loss. Regular BMD measurements and initiation of concomitant bisphosphonate therapy on evidence of bone loss should be considered for patients undergoing endocrine therapy.

J Clin Oncol 25:820-828, 2007

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Extended Adjuvant Therapy With Anastrozole Among Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Patients: Results From the Randomized Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group Trial 6a

Raimund Jakesz, Richard Greil, Michael Gnant, Marianne Schmid, Werner Kwasny, Ernst Kubista, Brigitte Mlineritsch, Christoph Tausch, Michael Stierer, Friedrich Hofbauer, Karl Renner, Christian Dadak, Ernst Rücklinger, Hellmut Samonigg, on behalf of the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group

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Abstract

Background Clinical trial data have shown that among breast cancer patients who were disease free after 5 years of adjuvant treatment with tamoxifen, further extended treatment with the nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor letrozole reduces breast cancer recurrence. We examined the efficacy and tolerability of extended adjuvant therapy with another aromatase inhibitor, anastrozole, for 3 years among women who had completed 5 years of adjuvant therapy.

Methods Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG) Trial 6a is an extension of ABCSG Trial 6, in which hormone receptor–positive postmenopausal patients received 5 years of adjuvant tamoxifen, with or without the aromatase inhibitor aminoglutethimide, for the first 2 years of therapy. For ABCSG Trial 6a, patients who were disease free at the end of Trial 6 were randomly assigned to receive either 3 years of anastrozole or no further treatment. Efficacy data were analyzed with the use of a Cox proportional hazards regression model with two-sided P values and Kaplan–Meier curves, and tolerability data were estimated using logistic regression analysis with odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results ABCSG Trial 6a included 856 patients. At a median follow-up of 62.3 months, women who received anastrozole (n = 387) had a statistically significantly reduced risk of recurrence (locoregional recurrence, contralateral breast cancer, or distant metastasis) compared with women who received no further treatment (n = 469; hazard ratio = 0.62; 95% CI = 0.40 to 0.96, P = .031). Anastrozole was well tolerated, and no unexpected adverse events were reported.

Conclusions These data confirm the benefit of extending adjuvant tamoxifen therapy beyond 5 years with anastrozole compared with no further treatment. Further research is required to define the optimum length of extended adjuvant therapy and to investigate the possibility of tailoring this period to suit different disease types.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2007;99: 1845 – 53

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Pathologic Complete Response With Six Compared With Three Cycles of Neoadjuvant Epirubicin Plus Docetaxel and Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor in Operable Breast Cancer: Results of ABCSG-14

Günther G. Steger, Arik Galid, Michael Gnant, Brigitte Mlineritsch, Alois Lang, Christoph Tausch, Margaretha Rudas, Richard Greil, Catharina Wenzel, Christian F. Singer, Anton Haid, Sabine Pöstlberger, Hellmut Samonigg, Gero Luschin-Ebengreuth, Werner Kwasny, Eduard Klug, Ernst Kubista, Christian Menzel, and Raimund Jakesz

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Purpose Preoperative (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy for operable breast cancer downstages tumors initially not suitable for breast-conserving surgery. A pathologic complete response (pCR) to neoadjuvant chemotherapy may be a surrogate for longer overall survival, but this beneficial effect remains to be established. This phase III trial evaluated whether doubling the number of cycles of neoadjuvant treatment increased the pCR rate.

Patients and Methods Patients with biopsy-proven breast cancer (T1-4a-c, N±, M0; stage I to III) were eligible and randomly assigned to either three or six cycles of epirubicin 75 mg/m2 and docetaxel 75 mg/m2 on day 1 and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor on days 3 through 10 (ED+G), every 21 days. The primary end point was the pCR rate of the breast tumor. Secondary end points were pathologic nodal status after surgery and the rate of breast-conserving surgery.

Results A total of 292 patients were accrued, and 288 patients were assessable for efficacy and safety. Groups were well balanced for known prognostic factors. Six cycles of ED+G, compared with three cycles, resulted in a significantly higher pCR rate (18.6% v 7.7%, respectively; P = .0045), a higher percentage of patients with negative axillary status (56.6% v 42.8%, respectively; P = .02), and a trend towards more breast-conserving surgery (75.9% v 66.9%, respectively; P = .10). Rates of adverse events were similar, and no patients died on treatment.

Conclusion Doubling the number of neoadjuvant ED+G cycles from three to six results in higher rates of pCR and negative axillary nodal status with no excess of adverse effects. Thus, six cycles of ED+G should be the standard neoadjuvant treatment for operable breast cancer if this combination is chosen.

J Clin Oncol 25:2012-2018, 2007

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A prospective randomised phase III trial of adjuvant chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin in patients with stage II colon cancer

W Schippinger, H Samonigg, R Schaberl-Moser, R Greil, R Thödtmann, J Tschmelitsch, M Jagoditsch, GG Steger, R Jakesz, F Herbst, F Hofbauer, H Rab, P Wohlmuth, M Gnant and J Thaler for the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group

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Abstract

The purpose of this trial was to investigate the efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin (LV) in stage II colon cancer. Patients with stage II colon cancer were randomised to either adjuvant chemotherapy with 5-FU/LV (100 mg m(-2) LV+450 mg m(-2) 5-FU weekly, weeks 1-6, in 8 weeks cycles x 7) or surveillance only. Five hundred patients were evaluable for analyses. After a median follow-up of 95.6 months, 55 of 252 patients (21.8%) have died in the 5-FU/LV arm and 58 of 248 patients (23.4%) in the surveillance arm. There was no statistically significant difference in overall survival (OS) between the two treatment arms (hazard ratios, HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.61-1.27, P=0.49). The relative risk for tumour relapse was higher for patients on the surveillance arm than for those on the 5-FU/LV arm; however, this difference was not statistically significant (HR 0.69, 95% CI 0.45-1.06, P=0.09). Consequently, disease-free survival (DFS) was not significantly different between the two trial arms. In conclusion, results of this trial demonstrate a trend to a lower risk for relapse in patients treated with adjuvant 5-FU/LV for stage II colon cancer. However, in this study with limited power to detect small differences between the study arms, adjuvant chemotherapy failed to significantly improve DFS and OS.

British Journal of Cancer (2007) 97, 1021 – 1027

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Lumpectomy plus Tamoxifen or Anastrozole with or without Whole Breast Irradiation in Women with Favorable Early Breast Cancer

Richard Pötter, Michael Gnant, Werner Kwasny, Christoph Tausch, Leonore Handl-Zeller, Brigitte Pakisch, Susanne Taucher, Josef Hammer, Geor Luschin-Ebengreuth, Marianne Schmid, Felix Sedlmayer, Michael Stierer, Georg Reiner, Karin Kapp, Friedrich Hofbauer, Andrea Rottenfusser, Sabine Pöstlberger, Karin Haider, Wolfgang Draxler, Raimund Jakesz, on behalf of the Austrian Breast & Colorectal Cancer Study Group

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Abstract

Purpose: In women with favorable early breast cancer treated by lumpectomy plus tamoxifen or anastrazole, it remains unclear whether whole breast radiotherapy is beneficial.

Methods and Material: Between January 1996 and June 2004, the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG) randomly assigned 869 women to receive breast radiotherapy ± boost (n = 414) or not (n = 417) after breast-conserving surgery (ABCSG Study 8A). Favorable early breast cancer was specified as tumor size

Results: The mean age was 66 years. Overall, there were 21 local relapses, with 2 relapses in the radiotherapy group (5-y rate 0.4%) vs. 19 in the no-radiotherapy group (5.1%), respectively (p = 0.0001, hazard ratio 10.2). Overall relapses occurred in 30 patients, with 7 events in the radiotherapy group (5-y rate 2.1%) vs. 23 events in the no-radiotherapy group (6.1%) (p = 0.002, hazard ratio 3.5). No significant differences were found for distant metastases and overall survival.

Conclusion: Breast radiotherapy ± boost in women with favorable early breast cancer after lumpectomy combined with tamoxifen/anastrazole leads to a significant reduction in local and overall relapse.

Int. J. Radiation Oncology Biol. Phys., Vol. 68, No. 2, pp. 334–340, 2007

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The potential risk of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer patients?results from a prospective randomized trial of the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG-07)

Susanne Taucher, Günther G. Steger, Raimund Jakesz, Christoph Tausch, Viktor Wette, Walter Schippinger, Werner Kwasny, Georg Reiner, Richard Greil, Peter Dubsky, Sabine Pöstlberger, Jörg Tschmelitsch, Hellmut Samonigg, Michael Gnant

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PURPOSE: To evaluate the impact that pre- and postoperatively administered chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and fluorouracil (CMF) and postoperative chemotherapy vs. postoperative chemotherapy alone have on long-term prognosis.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The ABCSG conducted a nationwide randomized phase III trial in high-risk endocrine non-responsive breast cancer patients comparing pre- and postoperative chemotherapy containing CMF as preoperative treatment vs. postoperative chemotherapy alone between 1991 and 1999. From 1996 the ABCSG-07 protocol was amended to also allow randomization of high-risk endocrine-responsive patients. Of 423 eligible patients with high-risk primary breast cancer, 203 patients were randomly assigned to preoperatively receive three cycles of CMF (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, fluorouracil; 600/40/600 mg/m(2)) intravenously on day 1 and 8, while 195 patients received postoperative chemotherapy alone. In both groups, three cycles of CMF were given initially, and another three cycles of CMF were administered in node-negative patients, whereas node-positive patients received three cycles of EC (epirubicin, cyclophosphamide; 70/600 mg/m(2)).

RESULTS: Overall response rate to preoperative chemotherapy with three cycles of CMF was 56.2%; complete pathological response was achieved in 12 patients (5.9%). Recurrence-free survival was significantly better in patients receiving chemotherapy postoperatively (HR 0.7, 0.515-0.955; P = 0.024). No survival difference was observed between the two therapy groups (HR 0.800, 0.563-1.136; P = 0.213).

DISCUSSION: Preoperative chemotherapy with CMF has to be considered as insufficient in high-risk breast cancer patients. Delayed surgery and anthracycline-based chemotherapy result in shorter recurrence-free survival but not overall survival.

Breast Cancer Res Treat – accepted in November 2007

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Invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma of breast differ in response following neoadjuvant therapy with epidoxorubicin and docetaxel + G-CSF

Catharina Wenzel, Rupert Bartsch, Dagmar Hussian, Ursula Pluschnig, Gabriela Altorjai, Christoph C. Zielinski, Alois Lang, Anton Haid, Raimund Jakesz, Michael Gnant, Guenther G. Steger

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Abstract

PURPOSE: Preoperative chemotherapy in patients with primary breast cancer treated with anthracyclines and taxanes results in high response rates, allowing breast conserving surgery (BCS) in patients primarily not suitable for this procedure. Pathological responses are important prognostic parameters for progression free and overall survival. We questioned the impact of histologic type invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) versus invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) on response to primary chemotherapy.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: 161 patients with breast cancer received preoperative chemotherapy consisted of epidoxorubicin 75 mg/m(2) and docetaxel 75 mg/m(2) administered in combination with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) on days 3-10 (ED + G). Pathological complete response (pCR), biological markers and type of surgery as well as progression free and overall survival were compared between IDC and ILC.

RESULTS: Out of 161 patients, 124 patients presented with IDC and 37 with ILC. Patients with ILC were less likely to have a pCR (3% vs. 20%, P < 0.009) and breast conserving surgeries (51% vs. 79%, P < 0.001). Patients with ILC tended to have oestrogen receptor positive tumors (86% vs. 52%, P < 0.0001), HER 2 negative tumors (69% vs. 84%), and lower nuclear grade (nuclear grade 3, 16% vs. 46%, P < 0.001). Patients with ILC tended to have longer time to progression (TTP) (42 months vs. 26 months) and overall survival (69 months vs. 65 months).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that patients with ILC achieved a lower pCR rate and ineligibility for BCS to preoperative chemotherapy, but this did not result in a survival disadvantage. Because of these results new strategies to achieve a pCR are warranted.

Breast Cancer Res Treat (2007) 104:109-114

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Randomized comparison of neoadjuvant docetaxel (D), epirubicin (E) and pegfilgrastim (P) (+ trastuzumab [T] in HER2+ patients [pts]) with and without capecitabine (C) for operable breast cancer (BC): Results of a planned safety analysis of ABCSG 24

Steger G, Greil R, Samonigg H, Jakesz R, Bartsch R, Mlineritsch B, Melbinger-Zeinitzer E, Marth C, Schippinger W, Gnant M

American Society of Clinical Oncology

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