Certain anthracycline-containing adjuvant chemotherapy regimens are associated with improved relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) compared with the classic regimen of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil in women with early-stage breast cancer.
Patients and Methods
Between 1989 and 1993, 710 pre- and perimenopausal women with axillary node–positive breast cancer were randomly assigned to either cyclophosphamide 75 mg/m2 orally days 1 through 14, epirubicin 60 mg/m2 intravenously days 1 and 8, and fluorouracil 500 mg/m2 intravenously days 1 and 8 (CEF) or CMF (cyclophosphamide 100 mg/m2 orally days 1 through 14, methotrexate 40 mg/m2 intravenously days 1 and 8, and fluorouracil 600 mg/m2 intravenously days 1 and 8). On the basis of follow-up to May 1997 (median follow-up time, 59 months), there was a statistically significant improvement in RFS and OS for CEF compared with CMF.
The trial results are now updated, with a median follow-up of 10 years for live patients. The 10-year RFS is 52% for patients who received CEF compared with 45% for CMF patients (hazard ratio [HR] for CMF v CEF = 1.31; stratified log-rank, P = .007). The 10-year OS for patients who received CEF and CMF are 62% and 58%, respectively (HR for CMF v CEF = 1.18; stratified log-rank, P = .085). The rates of acute leukemia have not changed since the original report, whereas the rates of congestive heart failure are slightly higher but acceptable (four patients [1.1%] in the CEF group v one patient [0.3%] in the CMF group).
The previously demonstrated benefit of CEF compared with CMF adjuvant chemotherapy is maintained with longer follow-up in the MA5 trial.