Adjuvant Treatment of High-Risk Breast Cancer Using Multicycle High-Dose Chemotherapy and Filgrastim-Mobilized Peripheral Blood Progenitor Cells

Russell L. Basser, L. Bik To, C. Glenn Begley, Christopher A. Juttner, Darryl W. Maher, Jeffrey Szer*, Jonathan Cebon, John P. Collins, Ian Russell, Ian Olver, P. Grantly Gill, Richard M. Fox, William P. Sheridan, Michael D. Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women with primary breast cancer associated with extensive axillary node involvement or large primary tumors have a very poor prognosis despite treatment with standard-dose adjuvant chemotherapy. In an attempt to improve the outlook of these patients, we investigated the safety and feasibility of delivering three cycles of high-dose epirubicin and cyclophosphamide supported with filgrastim-mobilized peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPC). Fifteen previously untreated women, median age 50 (range, 30-58) years, with poor prognosis early stage breast cancer received filgrastim (12 |xg/kg daily for 6 days) prior to chemotherapy to mobilize progenitor cells. Patients were then given three cycles of epirubicin (200 mg/m2) and cyclophosphamide (4 g/m2) at planned 28-day intervals, each followed by infusion of one third of the PBPC collected and daily administration of filgrastim (5 |ig/kg s.c.). Three leukaphereses collected a median of 114.9 (range, 22.7-273.5) x 104 granulocyte-macrophage-colony-forming cells/kg body weight. Hemopoietic recovery was rapid after each cycle, and there was no correlation between the rate of recovery and the number of granulocyte-macrophage-colony-forming cells infused. There was a small but significant progressive delay in recovery from hematological and nonhematological toxicities across the three cycles. Left ventricular ejection fraction fell to below 50% in eight (53%) patients, but none developed congestive cardiac failure. Two patients did not complete three cycles because of insufficient PBPC for a third cycle (n = 1) and 2-mercaptoethane sodium sulfonaterelated drug reaction during the second cycle (n = 1). There were no deaths during the study or during the follow-up period (median, 70 weeks; range, 50-85 weeks), and no late toxicities occurred. Therefore, we concluded that the delivery of multiple cycles of nonmyeloablative, dose-intensive chemotherapy supported by PBPC and filgrastim is safe, and may be widely applicable to a variety of common chemosensitive cancers with a poor prognosis. The efficacy of three cycles of high-dose epirubicin and cyclophosphamide is to be compared with standard-dose chemotherapy in a randomized trial in patients with high-risk, operable stage II and III breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-721
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 1995
Externally publishedYes


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