Inhaled steroids as prophylaxis for delayed pulmonary toxicity syndrome in breast cancer patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation

Dean S. McGaughey, Daniel A Nikcevich, Gwynn D. Long, James J. Vredenburgh, David Rizzieri, Clay A. Smith, Gloria Broadwater, Jennifer S. Loftis, Carolyn McDonald, Ashley K. Morris, Rodney J. Folz, Nelson J. Chao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose. To evaluate the efficacy of inhaled fluticasone propionate (Flovent) as prophylaxis against delayed pulmonary toxicity syndrome (DPTS) and decline in pulmonary function in breast cancer patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy with the conditioning regimen of cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and carmustine (CPB) followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). Patients and Methods. Sixty-three consecutive patients with multinode-positive or metastatic breast cancer undergoing high-dose chemotherapy with CPB and ASCT who were treated at the Duke University Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Program. All patients were started on inhaled fluticasone propionate, 880 μg every 12 hours, for 12 weeks from the start date of their CPB conditioning regimen. Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) with a single-breath diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide (DLCO) were performed pre-ASCT as well as approximately 6 and 12 weeks post-ASCT. DPTS was defined as follows: (1) development of a nonproductive cough and dyspnea with or without fever, plus a fall in DLCO to less than 60% predicted; or (2) decline in DLCO to less than 50% predicted with or without symptoms. Results: Pulmonary function tests were done on all patients pre-ASCT, on 56 of the 63 patients at a median of 44 days (range, 25 to 73 days) post-ASCT, and on 51 of the 63 patients at a median of 96 days (range, 50 to 190 days) post-ASCT. The PFTs showed an average of an 8% (±26%) and 21% (±22%) decline in DLCO. These declines compare favorably with our historical control group of 45 consecutive breast cancer patients undergoing ASCT with CPB as a conditioning regimen, who experienced average declines in DLCO of 29% (±18%) (P < .001) and 33% (±18%) (P < .001) at comparable time periods post-ASCT. Delayed pulmonary toxicity syndrome occurred in 35% of treated patients compared to 73% of the historical controls (P = .0003). No patients died of DPTS or pulmonary problems, and there were no fungal pneumonias. Conclusion: Inhaled fluticasone propionate may decrease the incidence of DPTS in patients treated with CPB as a conditioning regimen for ASCT, as well as help to preserve pulmonary function as measured by DLCO. These results are worthy of further study in a randomized clinical trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-278
Number of pages5
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (grants 2PO1-CA-47741008A and HL55166) and a program research grant from Glaxo Wellcome, Inc, to Rodney J. Folz, MD, PhD. Presented in part at the American Society of Clinical Oncologists Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, May 1999.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Fluticasone propionate
  • High-dose chemotherapy
  • Pulmonary toxicity syndrome

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