Docetaxel and high-dose epirubicin as neoadjuvant chemotherapy in locally advanced breast cancer
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Epirubicin and docetaxel are two of the most active drugs against breast carcinoma. As the achievement of a pathological complete response (pCR) is important for survival of patients with locally advanced disease, we used both drugs as neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
Patients and methods
Women with locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer received epirubicin 120 mg/m2 followed by docetaxel 75 mg/m2, both on day 1, every 21 days for four cycles. Lenograstim was administered for 10 days in all cycles.
Of 51 patients included, 50 received a total of 188 cycles, with a median of 4 per patient. The median age was 47 years, tumour stage was IIIA in 14 patients and IIIB in 36. Oestrogen receptors were positive in 65% of tumours. There were 10 clinical complete responses (20%) and 29 partial responses (58%). Surgery consisted of mastectomy in 40 patients and tumorectomy in 6. After surgery, 9 pCR were recorded (18%). One patient progressed and died soon after the end of chemotherapy. After a median follow-up of 22 months, the median disease-free survival was 33.7 months. Grade 3/4 neutropenia was observed in 32% of patients, anaemia in 6%, and thrombocytopenia in 4%. Five patients had febrile neutropenia. There were no toxic deaths or grade 4 nonhaematological toxicities.
Docetaxel plus high-dose epirubicin showed promising activity in patients with locally advanced and inflammatory breast cancer, at the cost of moderate toxicity.
KeywordsLocally advanced breast cancer Epirubicin High-dose Docetaxel Neoadjuvant
We are indebted to Dr Beatriz Gil-Alberdi for her assistance in preparing the manuscript. The authors acknowledge the work of Biométrica in doing the monitoring and the statistical analysis of the study and Aventis Pharma for the general coordination of the project.
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