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Oncologist. 2001;6 Suppl 3:13-6.

Docetaxel and epirubicin in advanced breast cancer.

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  • 1Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland, Ospedale San Giovanni, Bellinzona, Switzerland.


In an International Breast Cancer Study Group phase I/II program, 70 patients with advanced breast cancer received up to eight courses of 75 mg/m2 docetaxel combined with 90 mg/m(2) epirubicin, every 3 weeks. G-CSF was not administered prophylactically. Grade 4 neutropenia occurred in 88% of cycles that were not supported by G-CSF. However, febrile neutropenia affected only 24% of cycles. It occurred after the first cycle in 56% of cases and was managed by oral antibiotics in 52% of cases. When supportive G-CSF was administered, the incidence of febrile neutropenia fell to 3% and grade 4 neutropenia to 41%. Only 6% of patients experienced a greater than 20% reduction in left ventricular ejection fraction and no severe, irreversible cardiotoxicity was observed. The overall response rate (RR) was 66% and median time to progression was 4.5 months. The RR was similar in patients with prior adjuvant chemotherapy and patients with predominantly visceral disease. These data and those of comparable series suggest that the combination of epirubicin and docetaxel is tolerable and active, and that it should be further developed clinically.

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