Is drug-induced toxicity a good predictor of response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer?--a prospective clinical study.

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BACKGROUND: Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy is an integral part of multi-modality approach in the management of locally advanced breast cancer and it is vital to predict the response in order to tailor the regime for a patient. The common final pathway in the tumor cell death is believed to be apoptosis or programmed cell death and chemotherapeutic drugs like other DNA-damaging agents act on rapidly multiplying cells including both the tumor and the normal cells by following the same common final pathway. This could account for both the toxic effects and the response. Absence or decreased apoptosis has been found to be associated with chemo resistance. The change in expression of apoptotic markers (Bcl-2 and Bax proteins) brought about by various chemotherapeutic regimens is being used to identify drug resistance in the tumor cells. A prospective clinical study was conducted to assess whether chemotherapy induced toxic effects could serve as reliable predictors of apoptosis or response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced breast cancer.

METHODS: 50 cases of locally advanced breast cancer after complete routine and metastatic work up were subjected to trucut biopsy and the tissue evaluated immunohistochemically for apoptotic markers (bcl-2/bax ratio). Three cycles of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy using FAC regime (5-fluorouracil, adriamycin, cyclophosphamide) were given at three weekly intervals and patients assessed for clinical response as well as toxicity after each cycle. Modified radical mastectomy was performed in all patients three weeks after the last cycle and the specimen were re-evaluated for any change in the bcl-2/bax ratio. The clinical response, immunohistochemical response and the drug-induced toxicity were correlated and compared. Descriptive studies were performed with SPSS version 10 and the significance of response was assessed using paired t-test. Significance of correlation between various variables was assessed using chi-square test and coefficient of correlation calculated by Pearson correlation coefficient.

RESULTS: There was a statistically significant correlation observed between clinical, immunohistochemical response (bcl-2/bax ratio) and the drug-induced toxicity.

CONCLUSION: Responders also had significant toxicity while non-responders did not show significant toxicity following neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The chemotherapy-induced toxicity was observed to be a cost effective and reliable predictor of response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.



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Diagnosis | Medicine and Health Sciences | Other Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Radiology




Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Medical Imaging

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