Sequential immunochemotherapy and edrecolomab in the adjuvant therapy of breast cancer: reduction of 17-1A-positive disseminated tumour cells

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Background:The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficacy of the monoclonal antibody edrecolomab after chemo- and radiotherapy in the elimination of disseminated tumour cells in bone marrow in the adjuvant therapy of breast cancer.Patients and methods:The bone marrow of 25 patients with breast cancer was tested for the presence of disseminated tumour cells using the pancytoceratine antibody and the alkaline phosphatase-antialkaline-phosphatase (APAAP) technique. To characterize tumour cells simultaneously, immunofluorescent double labelling of pancytoceratine and epithelial cell adhesion molecule (antibody 17-1A) was performed on tumour cells after magneto bead enrichment. Patients positive for the 17-1A antigen in bone marrow after chemotherapy were treated with edrecolomab (500 mg Panorex® initially, then 100 mg/month over 4 months) and investigated for the presence of micrometastases 6 weeks after the last treatment.Results:Of the 17 patients showing bone marrow micrometastases (BM-MM), 14 tested 17-1A positive before adjuvant chemotherapy. After chemotherapy, nine patients remained positive for the 17-1A antigen and were treated with edrecolomab. The final investigation after immunotherapy showed a complete elimination of the 17-1A-positive BM-MM in seven patients and a significant reduction of these cells in two patients.Conclusions:Sequential treatment of breast cancer with edrecolomab after adjuvant chemotherapy can reduce disseminated tumour cells in the bone marrow and eliminate 17-1A-positive micrometastases.

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