Slight Benefit Seen in Use of Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation for Metastatic Breast Cancer
Slight Benefit Seen in Use of Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation for
Metastatic Breast Cancer
M. D. Anderson News Release 06/01/03
Examination of several multi-national cancer registries suggests that use of donor stem cells to treat metastatic breast cancer appears to delay progression of the disease in some patients.
Researchers found that patients who developed "graft-versus-host disease," a syndrome in which an innate immune system fights the donated stem cells, appear to have also benefited from a "graft-versus-breast cancer" effect, in which the donor cells attack the patient's tumors.
"In spite of the fact that most of these patients were heavily pre-treated and had a poor prognosis, we see a trend toward delayed progression and that is encouraging," says one of the study's leaders, Naoto Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
"Statistically, however, this study is not conclusive," says Uneo, an assistant professor in the Department of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. "The data does suggest that we need to study it in a more controlled setting to determine how effective it is."
Ueno presented results of the study at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. His co-investigator is Dietger Niederwieser, M.D., of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.
The issue is of interest because oncologists had hoped that the success of using allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (Allo HSCT) to treat blood cancers could be carried over into treatment of solid cancers.
Although Allo HSCT has been sparsely used for a number of decades to treat metastatic breast cancer, little data exists on its benefit, Ueno says. "This type of treatment has never been adequately explored for breast cancer," he says.
Allogeneic transplantation is the use of matched donor blood or blood products from another person.
To find out the value of the therapy, Ueno combed data from the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry that included outcomes data on 75 patients treated at 16 different hospitals that belong to the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. They also looked at outcomes of patients receiving high-dose chemotherapy versus low-dose chemotherapy (also known as "mini transplants") before receiving the transplant-affected survival.
Ueno and Niederwieser found that the presence of any graft-versus-host disease, either chronic or acute, was associated with a longer time to progression – 11 months versus three months for patients who did not experience the effect.