The great majority of women with local and regional recurrences survive after five years with proper treatment. Women with estrogen-negative breast cancer benefitted the most if that treatment included chemotherapy after surgery, according to research today at the 35th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer SymposiumThe research was part of the Chemotherapy as Adjuvant for Locally Recurrent Breast Cancer (CALOR) trial.
Triple-negative is a type of estrogen-negative breast cancer.
A big takeaway here is that local and regional recurrence—near the site of the original primary tumor and in the lymph nodes—is highly treatable.
The National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project and the International Breast Cancer Study Group evaluated 162 patients with local and regional recurrence; 85 received adjuvant chemotherapy and 77 did not. At least four courses of chemotherapy were recommended, with the drug chosen at the discretion of the treating oncologist.
Women with estrogen receptor negative breast cancer had the greatest benefit from chemotherapy, including:
• A 67 percent disease-free survival rate after five years for those who received chemotherapy, versus 35 percent for those who did not.
• A 79 percent overall survival rate after five years for those who received chemotherapy and 69 percent for those who did not.
Those with ER-positive disease also saw a benefit from chemotherapy in terms of overall survival, although it was less pronounced:
• A 70 percent five-year disease-free survival rate among those who received chemotherapy versus 69 percent for those who did not.
• A 94 percent overall survival rate among those who received chemotherapy versus 80 percent among those who did not.
Lead author Stefan Aebi, M.D., head of the division of medical oncology at Luzerner Kantonsspital in Luzern, Switzerland, recommends that physicians prescribe adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with isolated local and regional recurrence of breast cancer, especially if the recurrence is ER-negative.
Aebi said one reason the study sample was so small was that participating doctors were hesitant to recommend that their patients not take chemotherapy.
Read more about TNBC in my book, Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.