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May 2019 Journal of clinical medicine

Stem Cells Inhibition by Bevacizumab in Combination with Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer.


Preclinical works have suggested cytotoxic chemotherapies may increase the number of cancer stem cells (CSC) whereas angiogenesis inhibition may decrease CSC proliferation. We developed a proof of concept clinical trial to explore bevacizumab activity on breast CSC. Breast cancer patients requiring preoperative chemotherapy were included in this open-label, randomized, prospective, multicenter phase II trial. All received FEC-docetaxel combination, and patients randomized in the experimental arm received concomitant bevacizumab. The primary endpoint was to describe ALDH1 (Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1) positive tumor cells rate before treatment and after the fourth cycle. Secondary objectives included safety, pathological complete response (pCR) rate, disease-free survival (DFS), relapse-free survival (RFS), and overall survival (OS). Seventy-five patients were included. ALDH1+ cells rate increase was below the predefined 5% threshold in both arms for the 32 patients with two time points available. Grade 3 or 4 adverse events rates were similar in both arms. A non-significant increase in pCR was observed in the bevacizumab arm (42.6% vs. 18.2%, = 0.06), but survival was not improved (OS: = 0.89; DFS: = 0.45; and RFS: = 0.68). The increase of ALDH1+ tumor cells rate after bevacizumab-based chemotherapy was less than 5%. However, as similar results were observed with chemotherapy alone, bevacizumab impact on breast CSC cells cannot be confirmed.

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