Usefulness of chemotherapy beyond the second line for metastatic breast cancer: a therapeutic challenge

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2010 May;66(1):113-20. doi: 10.1007/s00280-009-1141-3. Epub 2009 Sep 27.


Purpose: Several lines of chemotherapy can be proposed for patients with metastatic breast cancer, but beyond the second line, agreement is lacking concerning the most appropriate therapeutic strategy.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of the files of 162 patients, who had received at least 3 lines of chemotherapy (CT3) for metastatic breast cancer during a 5-year period (2000-2004), in order to analyze management practices and search for factors affecting survival from CT3 and predictive factors of non-progressive disease (NPD) after CT3.

Results: Multivariate analysis identified seven factors which had a positive influence on survival from CT3 (SBR grade I, absence of adjuvant hormone therapy, free interval >or=2 years, absence of cerebromeningeal metastasis before CT, unique focus at initiation of CT3, use of polychemotherapy for CT2, and complete response to CT1 or CT2) and two predictive factors of NPD (histology and drug group used for CT3).

Conclusions: These factors should help determine the appropriate strategy for proposing a third line of chemotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • Retreatment
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome