High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue to treat stage III homologous deficient breast cancer: factors influencing clinical implementation

BMC Cancer. 2023 Jan 7;23(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s12885-022-10412-x.


Background: High-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell rescue (HDCT) is a promising treatment for patients with stage III, HER2-negative, homologous recombination deficient (HRD) breast cancer. Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness are currently under investigation in an international multicenter randomized controlled trial. To increase the chance of successful introduction of HDCT into daily clinical practice, we aimed to identify relevant factors for smooth implementation using an early comprehensive assessment framework.

Methods: This is a qualitative, multi-stakeholder, exploratory research using semi-structured interviews guided by the Constructive Technology Assessment model, which evaluates the quality of a novel health technology by clinical, economic, patient-related, and organizational factors. Stakeholders were recruited by purposeful stratified sampling and interviewed until sufficient content saturation was reached. Two researchers independently created themes, categories, and subcategories by following inductive coding steps, these were verified by a third researcher.

Results: We interviewed 28 stakeholders between June 2019 and April 2021. In total, five overarching themes and seventeen categories were identified. Important findings for optimal implementation included the structural identification and referral of all eligible patients, early integration of supportive care, multidisciplinary collaboration between- and within hospitals, (de)centralization of treatment aspects, the provision of information for patients and healthcare professionals, and compliance to new regulation for the BRCA1-like test.

Conclusions: In anticipation of a positive reimbursement decision, we recommend to take the highlighted implementation factors into consideration. This might expedite and guide high-quality equitable access to HDCT for patients with stage III, HER2-negative, HRD breast cancer in the Netherlands.

Keywords: Breast Neoplasms; Drug Therapy; Homologous Recombination; Implementation Science; Qualitative Research; Translational Research.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Homologous Recombination
  • Humans
  • Stem Cells
  • Treatment Outcome