Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Evaluation of Early Clinical Response, Pathological Complete Response Rates, and Addition of Platinum Salts Benefit Based on Real-World Evidence

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 30;13(7):1586. doi: 10.3390/cancers13071586.


Pathological complete response (pCR) achievement is undoubtedly the essential goal of neoadjuvant therapy for breast cancer, directly affecting survival endpoints. This retrospective study of 237 triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients with a median follow-up of 36 months evaluated the role of adding platinum salts into standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). After the initial four standard NACT cycles, early clinical response (ECR) was assessed and used to identify tumors and patients generally sensitive to NACT. BRCA1/2 mutation, smaller unifocal tumors, and Ki-67 ≥ 65% were independent predictors of ECR. The total pCR rate was 41%, the achievement of pCR was strongly associated with ECR (OR = 15.1, p < 0.001). According to multivariable analysis, the significant benefit of platinum NACT was observed in early responders ≥45 years, Ki-67 ≥ 65% and persisted lymph node involvement regardless of BRCA1/2 status. Early responders with pCR had a longer time to death (HR = 0.28, p < 0.001) and relapse (HR = 0.26, p < 0.001). The pCR was achieved in only 7% of non-responders. However, platinum salts favored non-responders' survival outcomes without statistical significance. Toxicity was significantly often observed in patients with platinum NACT (p = 0.003) but not for grade 3/4 (p = 0.155). These results based on real-world evidence point to the usability of ECR in NACT management, especially focusing on the benefit of platinum salts.

Keywords: brca mutation; early clinical response; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; pathological complete response; platinum salts; triple-negative breast cancer.