Pulmonary function and complications following chemotherapy and stem cell support in breast cancer

F. Fanfulla, P. Pedrazzoli, G. A. Da Prada, C. Bruschi, E. Dacosto, A. Zambelli, G. R. Della Cuna, C. Rampulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pulmonary complications are frequent in patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy and autologous bone marrow transplantation for breast cancer or other solid tumours. This study analyses the development of lung toxicity, changes in respiratory function and occurrence of clinical symptoms in a group of 24 patients (mean age 46±7 yrs) who underwent high-dose sequential chemotherapy (HDS) with autologous peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) support for high risk breast cancer. Clinical examination, chest radiography and lung function tests were performed before the HDS and 1 and 3 months following transplantation. Only one patient developed acute interstitial pulmonary disease which resolved after prednisone therapy. No patients developed infectious complications after transplantation. Baseline respiratory function was normal for most of the parameters. Only lung diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (TL,CO) and maximal inspiratory pressure were below the normal range. Following PBSC transplantation only one patient had an altered vital capacity while 72.3% of patients had reduced TL,CO values at 1 month and 54.5% at 3 months after transplantation. Maximal expiratory flow at 25% forced vital capacity, TL,CO and maximal expiratory pressure were significantly reduced after 1 month but recovered slightly by 3 months. Arterial oxygen tension between baseline and both follow-up evaluations declined significantly in patients seropositive for human cytomegalovirus. It is concluded that this high-dose sequential chemotherapy regimen is acceptably safe since no pulmonary related mortality or respiratory infectious complications were observed. The only lung function alteration induced was an isolated diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide impairment, clinically negligible and partially recovered within 3 months.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Breast cancer
  • Gas exchange
  • Respiration
  • Respiratory function
  • Stem cell transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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