Addition of bevacizumab to standard chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting improves the proportion of patients with HER2-negative breast cancer who achieve pathological complete response. We aimed to assess the addition of bevacizumab to dose-dense neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
We enrolled women with operable HER2-negative breast cancer (T1c-T4 and N0-3). Patients underwent treatment every 2 weeks (with pegfilgrastim support) of fluorouracil (500 mg/m2), epirubicin (75 mg/m2), cyclophosphamide (500 mg/m2), and bevacizumab (10 mg/kg) for 4 cycles followed by docetaxel (75 mg/m2) and bevacizumab for 4 cycles. After surgery, patients received adjuvant radiotherapy, and hormone therapy (if indicated). The primary endpoint was pathological complete response in breast and the axilla, and safety of the combination. A two-stage trial design was planned with 15 and 33 patients to enroll, respectively. The trial was terminated early due to slow accrual and follow-up is ongoing.
Between Oct, 2011, and Apr, 2015, we enrolled 34 patients, of whom 3 didn't undergo surgery, leaving 31 patients in the primary endpoint analysis. After neoadjuvant therapy, 5 (16.1%) of 31 patients achieved a pathological complete response according to centralized review. No patient discontinued treatment due to adverse events. The most frequent grade 3–4 toxicities were neutropenia (23.5%), nausea and vomiting (5,8%), and febrile neutropenia (2,9%). Only one patient developed grade III bevacizumab-related toxicity (hypertention). One patient died of pneumonia after cycle 8 and before surgery, which was thought to be unrelated to bevacizumab. After 25,2 months of median follow-up (range: 2,3-43,3) five patients experienced a disease relapse (16,1%).
Our results seem to indicate that the addition of bevacizumab to dose-dense neoadjuvant chemotherapy with FEC and docetaxel, although safe and feasible, does not provide clinical benefit to patients with non-metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer. Translational research to identify patients who might benefit from bevacizumab is needed.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Hellenic Oncology Research Group (HORG)
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.