Combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy for patients with breast cancer and extensive nodal involvement

O. Ung, A. O. Langlands, B. Barraclough, J. Boyages*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This retrospective review examines local control, freedom from distant failure, and survival for patients with nonmetastatic breast cancer with extensive nodal disease (> 10 nodes, 45 patients; or ≥ 70% involved nodes if < 10 nodes found, 19 patients). All patients received chemotherapy and radiotherapy following mastectomy. Patients and Methods: Sixty-four patients were treated between January 1980 and December 1988 at Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW Australia. The median follow-up duration for surviving patients was 91.5 months (range, 56 to 121). The median age was 51 years, and the median number of positive nodes was 11. Four successive protocols evolved, each with three phases, as follows: induction chemotherapy (doxorubicin or mitoxantrone, plus cyclophosphamide; three cycles), radiotherapy (50 Gy in 25 fractions to chest wall and regional nodes), then chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil [CMF]) of progressively shorter duration. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy were concurrent in the fourth regimen. Results: One patient (1.5%) developed local recurrence before distant relapse, and seven patients (11%) developed local and/or regional recurrence simultaneously or after distant relapse. The 5-year actuarial freedom from distant relapse and overall survival rates were 45% and 65%, respectively. Overall survival did not vary significantly by menopausal status, nodal subgroup, or dose-intensity. There were no treatment-related deaths. Conclusion: Combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy in standard dosage is an acceptable approach following mastectomy for patients with extensive nodal involvement at high risk far local recurrence and distant relapse. This approach should be considered standard best therapy for any randomized trials that examine high-dose chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation for this subgroup of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-443
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy for patients with breast cancer and extensive nodal involvement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this