Adding Carboplatin to Pre-surgery Chemotherapy Improves Survival for Patients with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Adding carboplatin to pre-surgery chemotherapy improved disease-free survival for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), according to results from a German clinical study released at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposia.1

Breast cancers that are not stimulated to grow from exposure to estrogen or progesterone and are HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor)-negative are called triple-negative breast cancers. Triple-negative breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other breast cancers and have fewer treatment options.

Chemotherapy administered before surgery with the goal of reducing the size of the cancer for surgical removal is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Previously reported clinical study results have suggested that adding carboplatin to anthracycline/taxane-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy can increase the proportion of patients with TNBC who had attained a pathologic complete response [pCR], from 36.9 percent to 53.2 percent.

In the currently reported study researchers enrolled 315 patients with TNBC to receive 18 weeks of neoadjuvant chemotherapy consisting of paclitaxel, non-pegylated-liposomal doxorubicin, and bevacizumab and were randomly assigned to concurrently receive weekly carboplatin or nothing extra and then directly compared.

After a median follow-up of three years, 85.5 percent of TNBC patients treated with the additional carboplatin survived without evidence of cancer recurrence compared to only 76.1 percent of patients treated with paclitaxel, non-pegylated-liposomal doxorubicin, bevacizumab, and no carboplatin.

Previous studies have also concluded that women with locally advanced breast cancer who are able to undergo breast-conserving therapy following neoadjuvant therapy appear to have impressive long-term survival and recurrence rates.2 These results provide further confirmation that neoadjuvant therapy is an appropriate therapeutic option for many patients with locally advanced breast cancer and that the addition of carboplatin may further improve survival. Patients with locally advanced breast cancer may wish to discuss the risks and benefits of neoadjuvant therapy with their physician or about the participation in a clinical trial evaluating other novel therapeutic approaches.


  1. von Minckwitz G, Loibl S, Schneeweiss A, et al. Early survival analysis of the randomized phase II trial investigating the addition of carboplatin to neoadjuvant therapy for triple-negative and HER2-positive early breast cancer (GeparSixto). Abstract: S2-04. Presented at the 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, San Antonio, TX. December 9, 2015.
  2. Cance W, Carey L, Calvo B, et al. Long-term outcome of neoadjuvant therapy for locally advanced breast carcinoma: effective clinical downstaging allows breast preservation and predicts outstanding local control and survival. Annals of Surgery. 2002;236:295-303.

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