PURPOSE AND METHODS
By the mid 1980s, tamoxifen alone was considered standard adjuvant therapy for postmenopausal women with node-positive, estrogen receptor (ER)- or progesterone receptor (PgR)-positive breast cancer. From 1984 through 1990, 705 eligible postmenopausal women with node-positive, ER- or PgR-positive breast cancer were randomized to a National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG) study that compared tamoxifen 30 mg by mouth daily for 2 years (TAM) versus TAM plus chemotherapy with all-intravenous cyclophosphamide 600 mg/m2, methotrexate 40 mg/m2, and fluorouracil 600 mg/m2 given every 21 days for eight cycles (CMF).
There were no significant differences in overall survival, recurrence-free survival, locoregional recurrence-free survival, or distant recurrence-free survival between the two treatment arms. However, there was significantly greater severe toxicity, which included leukopenia (P < .0001), nausea and vomiting (P < .0001), and thromboembolic events (P < .0001), as well as significantly more mild or greater toxicity, which included thrombocytopenia (P = .04), anemia (P = .02), infection (P = .0004), mucositis (P = .0001), diarrhea (P = .0001), and neurologic toxicity (P = .006), in women who received TAM plus CMF.
The addition of CMF to TAM adds no benefit and considerable toxicity in this group of women.