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J Clin Oncol. 2007 May 1;25(13):1677-82. Epub 2007 Apr 2.

Intensive dose-dense compared with high-dose adjuvant chemotherapy for high-risk operable breast cancer: Southwest Oncology Group/Intergroup study 9623.

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  • 1Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA.



Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG)/Intergroup study 9623 was undertaken to compare treatment with an anthracycline-based adjuvant chemotherapy regimen followed by high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) with autologous hematopoietic progenitor cell support (AHPCS) with a modern dose-dense dose-escalated (nonstandard) regimen including both an anthracycline and a taxane.


Participants in this phase III randomized study had operable breast cancer involving four or more axillary lymph nodes and had completed mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery. Patients were randomly assigned to receive four cycles of doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide followed by HDC with AHPCS or to receive sequential dose-dense and dose-escalated chemotherapy with doxorubicin, paclitaxel, and cyclophosphamide. The primary end point of this study was disease-free survival (DFS).


Among 536 eligible patients, there was no significant difference between the two arms for DFS or overall survival (OS). Estimated five-year DFS was 80% (95% CI, 76% to 85%) for dose-dense therapy and 75% (95% CI, 69% to 80%) for transplantation. Estimated 5-year OS was 88% (95% CI, 84% to 92%) for dose-dense therapy and 84% (95% CI, 79% to 88%) for transplantation.


There is no evidence that transplantation was superior to dose-dense dose-escalated therapy. Transplantation was associated with an increase in toxicity and a possibly inferior outcome, although the hazard ratios were not significantly different from 1.

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