Final Results of a Randomized Phase III Trial Comparing Cyclophosphamide, Epirubicin, and Fluorouracil With a Dose-Intensified Epirubicin and Cyclophosphamide + Filgrastim as Neoadjuvant Treatment in Locally Advanced Breast Cancer: An EORTC-NCIC-SAKK Multicenter Study Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose: To compare the efficacy of a standard anthracycline-based regimen to a dose-intensified anthracycline regimen in locally advanced breast cancer. Patients and Methods: Locally advanced breast cancer patients were randomly assigned onto a study comparing cyclophosphamide (C; 75 mg/m2 orally days 1 to 14), epirubicin (E; 60 mg/m2 intravenously [IV] days 1, 8), and fluorouracil (F; 500 mg/m2 IV days 1, 8) six cycles every 28 days versus E (120 mg/m2 IV day 1), C (830 mg/m2 IV day 1), and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (filgrastim; 5 μg/kg/d subcutaneously days 2 to 13) six cycles every 14 days. The study was designed to detect a 15% improvement; that is, from 50% to 65% in median progression-free survival (PFS) in favor of the dose-intensified regimen. Results: A total of 448 patients were enrolled over a period of 3 years. The median dose intensity delivered for C and E reached, respectively, 85% and 87% of that planned in the CEF arm and 96% and 95% of that planned in the EC arm. The dose-intensified arm was slightly more emetogenic and generated more grade 3 to 4 anemia but less febrile neutropenia episodes. After a median follow-up of 5.5 years, 277 events have been reported. The median PFS was 34 and 33.7 months for CEF and EC, respectively (P = .68), and the 5-year survival rate was 53% and 51% for CEF and EC, respectively (P = .94). Conclusion: Dose-intensified EC does not provide a measurable therapeutic benefit over CEF as neoadjuvant chemotherapy for unselected locally advanced breast cancer patients.


  • Therasse, P
  • Mauriac, L
  • Welnicka-Jaskiewicz, M
  • Bruning, P
  • Cufer, T
  • Bonnefoi, H
  • Tomiak, E
  • Pritchard, Kathleen
  • Hamilton, A
  • Piccart, MJ

publication date

  • March 1, 2003

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