Abstract No. 
2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
December 10-14

Site of recurrence after neoadjuvant therapy: clues to biology and impact on endpoints

Yau C, Symmans W, Pusztai L, Yee D, Clark AS, Hatzis C, Matthews JB, Carter J, Chen Y, Cole K, Khazai L, Klein M, Kokh D, Krings G, Sahoo S, Albain KS, Chien A, Edmiston KK, Elias ED, Euhus DM, Han HS, Isaacs C, Khan QJ, Lang JE, Lu J, Meisel JL, Mitri Z, Nanda R, Northfelt DW, Sanft T, Stringer-Reasor E, Viscusi RK, Wallace AM, Yung R, Hylton NM, Boughey JC, Melisko ME, Perlmutter J, Rugo HS, Schwab R, van 't Veer LJ, Berry DA, Esserman LJ


Achieving a pathologic complete response (pCR) has been shown on the patient level to predict excellent long-term event-free survival outcomes. Residual cancer burden (RCB) quantifies the extent of residual disease for patients who did not achieve pCR. A high proportion of metastatic events to the central nervous system (CNS), a known chemotherapy sanctuary site, was previously observed among the small number of relapses in patients achieving a pCR (Symmans et al 2017), raising the possibility that these CNS events may be independent of response in the breast. I-SPY2 is an adaptively randomized, phase II, platform trial that evaluates new drugs and combinations in the neoadjuvant setting for women with high-risk primary breast cancer. In this study, we evaluated the type and sites of recurrences by RCB classes in the I-SPY 2 TRIAL.


I-SPY 2 patients enrolled prior to 11/2016 across 9 experimental and control arms, with available RCB and event-free survival (EFS) data were included in this analysis. The median follow-up is 3.8 years. We summarized the EFS event type, further sub-dividing the distant recurrence events by their site of relapse (CNS-only, CNS and other sites, Non-CNS). We estimated the overall and site-specific distant recurrence incidence in each RCB class at 3 years using a competing risk (Fine-Gray) model. In addition, we assessed the association between RCB and distant recurrence free survival including all distant recurrences (DRFS), as well as excluding the CNS-only recurrences (non-CNS DRFS) using a Cox model. Our statistics do not adjust for multiplicities beyond variables evaluated in this study.


Among 938 subjects, there were 180 EFS events, including 28 (16%) local recurrences (without distant recurrence and/or death) and 152 DRFS events. Among the DRFS events, 25 patients died without a distant recurrence. 127 experienced distant recurrences, including 22 (17.3%) with CNS-only, 16 (12.6%) with CNS and other sites, 87 (68.5%) with non-CNS distant recurrence; 2 (1.6%) patients had missing recurrence site information. Incidence of CNS-only recurrences are low and are similar across RCB classes (pCR/RCB-0 (n=338): 1%, RCB-I (n=129): 3%, RCB-II (n=328): 2%, RCB-III (n=143): 2% at 3 years). In contrast, the incidence of non-CNS recurrences increase with increasing RCB (RCB-0: 2%, RCB-I: 4%, RCB-II: 11%, RCB-III: 19% at 3 years). DRFS of RCB-I patients do not significantly differ from those achieving a pCR/RCB-0 (DRFS at 3 years: 92% vs. 95%, hazard ratio: 1.77 (0.87-3.63)); the small numerical difference is further reduced when the CNS-only recurrences are excluded (non-CNS DRFS at 3 years: 95% vs. 96%, hazard ratio: 1.48 (0.61-3.58)). CNS recurrences among DRFS events are proportionally higher within the pCR (5/16 (31%)) and RCB-I (5/12 (42%)) than in the RCB-II (8/57 (14%)) and RCB-III (4/42 (9%)) groups largely because of the relative low frequency of non-CNS recurrence events.


In our high-risk I-SPY 2 cohort, CNS-only recurrences are uncommon but appear similar across RCB groups, independent of response, suggesting that the CNS is a treatment sanctuary site. In contrast, non-CNS recurrence rates increase as RCB increases. These findings, if confirmed, support the use of RCB to identify patients with excellent outcomes beyond those achieving a pCR; and suggest that inclusion of CNS only recurrences as an outcome event may impact the association between neoadjuvant therapy response and long-term outcome.  

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