Women with High-Risk Breast Cancer Benefit from Immunotherapy Before Surgery

A new study shows that Women with HER2-negative breast cancer who are treated before surgery with immunotherapy plus a PARP inhibitor with chemotherapy having a higher rate eradicating cancer from the breast and lymph nodes. The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) virtual annual meeting.

In this study, 73 patients in an experimental arm were administered durvalumab, olaparib, and paclitaxel chemotherapy followed by doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide chemotherapy, while 229 patients in a control arm received the standard treatment of paclitaxel plus doxorubicin/ cyclophosphamide.

Subsequently, researchers observed that women with triple negative cancer who received the combination treatment saw a pCR rate of 47%, juxtaposed to those given the standard chemotherapy with a pCR rate of 27%. Patients with estrogen-positive/HER2-negative cancer in the experimental arm experienced a pCR rate of 28%, versus 14% for those in the control arm. Patients in the experimental arm, however, were also more likely to experience grade 3 serious adverse events–58% in the experimental arm compared to 41% in the control arm.

Lajos Pusztai, M.D., Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) and Director of Breast Cancer Translational Research at YCC and lead researcher said in a press release that: “The results provide further evidence for the clinical value of immunotherapy in early stage breast cancer and suggest new avenues to use these drugs, particularly in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive/HER2-negative breast cancers.”