Risk of Treatment Related Death and Febrile Neutropaenia with First Line Palliative Chemotherapy for De Novo Metastatic Breast Cancer in Clinical Practice in a Middle Resource Country

  • Phua, Chee Ee (Clinical Oncology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • Tang, Weng Heng (Clinical Oncology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • Yusof, Mastura Md. (Clinical Oncology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • Saad, Marniza (Clinical Oncology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • Alip, Adlinda (Clinical Oncology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • See, Mee Hoong (Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • Taib, Nur Aishah (Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya)
  • Published : 2015.01.06


Background: The risk of febrile neutropaenia (FN) and treatment related death (TRD) with first line palliative chemotherapy for de novo metastatic breast cancer (MBC) remains unknown outside of a clinical trial setting despite its widespread usage. This study aimed to determine rates in a large cohort of patients treated in the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC). Materials and Methods: Patients who were treated with first line palliative chemotherapy for de novo MBC from 2002-2011 in UMMC were identified from the UMMC Breast Cancer Registry. Information collected included patient demographics, histopathological features, treatment received, including the different chemotherapy regimens, and presence of FN and TRD. FN was defined as an oral temperature > $38.5^{\circ}C$ or two consecutive readings of > $38.0^{\circ}C$ for 2 hours and an absolute neutrophil count < $0.5{\times}10^9/L$, or expected to fall below $0.5{\times}10^9/L$ (de Naurois et al, 2010). TRD was defined as death occurring during or within 30 days of the last chemotherapy treatment, as a consequence of the chemotherapy treatment. Statistical analysis was performed using the SPSS version 18.0 software. Survival probabilities were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and differences in survival compared using log-rank test. Results: Between $1^{st}$ January 2002 and $31^{st}$ December 2011, 424 patients with MBC were treated in UMMC. A total of 186 out of 221 patients with de novo MBC who received first line palliative chemotherapy were analyzed. The mean age of patients in this study was 49.5 years (range 24 to 74 years). Biologically, ER status was negative in 54.4% of patients and Her-2 status was positive in 31.1%. A 5-flourouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide (FEC) chemotherapy regimen was chosen for 86.6% of the cases. Most patients had multiple metastatic sites (58.6%). The main result of this study showed a FN rate of 5.9% and TRD rate of 3.2%. The median survival (MS) for the entire cohort was 19 months. For those with multiple metastatic sites, liver only, lung only, bone only and brain only metastatic sites, the MS was 18, 24, 19, 24 and 8 months respectively (p-value= 0.319). Conclusions: In conclusion, we surmise that FEC is a safe regimen with acceptable FN and TRD rates for de novo MBC.


De novo metastatic breast cancer;palliative chemotherapy;febrile neutropaenia;treatment related death


Supported by : Ministry of Higher Education


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