Association of antibiotic exposure with residual cancer burden in HER2-negative early stage breast cancer

ISPY2 consortium

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Antibiotic exposure during immunotherapy (IO) has been shown to negatively affect clinical outcomes in various cancer types. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether antibiotic exposure in patients with high-risk early-stage HER2-negative breast cancer (BC) undergoing treatment with neoadjuvant pembrolizumab impacted residual cancer burden (RCB) and pathologic complete response (pCR) in the pembrolizumab-4 arm of the ISPY-2 clinical trial. Patients received pembrolizumab for four cycles concurrently with weekly paclitaxel for 12 weeks, followed by four cycles of doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide every 2 or 3 weeks. Patients who received at least one dose of systemic antibiotics concurrently at the time of immunotherapy (IO) were included in the antibiotic exposure group (ATB+). All other participants were included in the control group (ATB-). RCB index and PCR rates were compared between the ATB+ and ATB- groups using t-tests and Chi-squared tests, and linear and logistic regression models, respectively. Sixty-six patients were included in the analysis. 18/66 (27%) patients were in the ATB+ group. Antibiotic use during IO was associated with a higher mean RCB index (1.80 ± 1.43 versus 1.08 ± 1.41) and a lower pCR rate (27.8% versus 52.1%). The association between antibiotic use and the RCB index remained significant in multivariable linear regression analysis (RCB index-coefficient 0.86, 95% CI 0.20–1.53, P = 0.01). Our findings suggest that concurrent antibiotic exposure during neoadjuvant pembrolizumab in HER2-negative early-stage BC is associated with higher RCB. Further validation in larger cohorts is needed to confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
Journalnpj Breast Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

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© The Author(s) 2024.

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