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Neoadjuvant chemotherapy among patients treated for nonmetastatic breast cancer in a population with a high HIV prevalence in Johannesburg, South Africa

Authors Ruff P, Cubasch H, Joffe M, Rosenbaum E, Murugan N, Tsai MC, Ayeni O, Crew KD, Jacobson JS, Neugut AI

Received 4 August 2017

Accepted for publication 30 November 2017

Published 9 February 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 279—286


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Harikrishna Nakshatri

Paul Ruff,1,2 Herbert Cubasch,2,3 Maureen Joffe,2,4 Evan Rosenbaum,5 Nivashni Murugan,2,3 Ming-Chih Tsai,2,3 Oluwatosin Ayeni,2 Katherine D Crew,5–7 Judith S Jacobson,6,7 Alfred I Neugut5–7

1Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Health Sciences, 2Noncommunicable Diseases Research Division, Wits Health Consortium, University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Health Sciences, 3Department of Surgery, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Health Sciences, 4MRC Developmental Pathways of Health Research Unit, Department of Paediatrics, University of Witwatersrand, Faculty of Health Sciences, Johannesburg, South Africa; 5Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, 6Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University, 7Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Background: Neoadjuvant (primary) chemotherapy (NACT) is the standard of care for locally advanced breast cancer. It also allows for the short-term assessment of chemotherapy response; a pathological complete responses correspond to improved long-term breast cancer outcomes. In sub-Saharan Africa, many patients are diagnosed with large nonresectable tumors. We examined NACT use in breast cancer patients who visited public hospitals in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Methods: We assessed demographic characteristics, tumor stage and grade, hormone receptor status, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status of female patients diagnosed with nonmetastatic invasive carcinoma of the breast at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2011. The patients received neoadjuvant, adjuvant, or no chemotherapy. Trastuzumab was unavailable. We developed logistic regression models to analyze the factors associated with NACT receipt in these patients.
Results: Of 554 women with nonmetastatic breast cancer, the median age at diagnosis was 52 years (range: 28–88 years). Only 5.8% of patients were diagnosed with stage I disease; 49.3% and 44.9% were diagnosed with stages II and III, respectively. Most patients had hormone-responsive tumors: luminal A, 38.1%; luminal B1 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 [HER2]-negative and high grade), 12.5%, and luminal B2 (HER2-positive any grade), 11.6%; 11.6% had a HER2-enriched tumor and 20.6% a triple-negative tumor. Eighty (14.4%) patients were HIV-positive. In total, 195 patients (35.2%) received NACT, 264 (47.7%) patients received adjuvant chemotherapy, and 95 patients (17.1%) received no chemotherapy, including 62 (11.2%) patients who received only hormonal therapy. Of patients receiving NACT, 125 (64.1%) were evaluable for clinical response. Eighty (64.0%) patients had a clinically significant response; 19 (15.2%) patients had a stable disease, and 26 (20.8%) patients had a progressive disease. Multivariate analysis showed age <40 years and disease stage to be independently associated with the receipt of NACT.
Most women receiving NACT with available response data showed a clinical benefit. Stage III disease at diagnosis and age <40 years were predictors of neoadjuvant versus adjuvant chemotherapy treatment.

Keywords: breast cancer, chemotherapy, neoadjuvant, South Africa, HIV, LMICs

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