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Lancet. 2000 Oct 21;356(9239):1384-91.

Tailored fluorouracil, epirubicin, and cyclophosphamide compared with marrow-supported high-dose chemotherapy as adjuvant treatment for high-risk breast cancer: a randomised trial. Scandinavian Breast Group 9401 study.

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Radiumhemmet, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

Erratum in

  • Lancet 2000 Dec 23-30;356(9248):2196.



Chemotherapy drug distribution varies greatly among individual patients. Therefore, we developed an individualised fluorouracil, epirubicin, cyclophosphamide (FEC) regimen to improve outcomes in patients with high-risk early breast cancer. We then did a randomised trial to compare this individually tailored FEC regimen with conventional adjuvant chemotherapy followed by consolidation with high-dose chemotherapy with stem-cell support.


525 women younger than 60 years of age with high-risk primary breast cancer were randomised after surgery to receive nine cycles of tailored FEC to haematological equitoxicity with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) support (n=251), or three cycles of FEC at standard doses followed by high-dose chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, thiotepa, and carboplatin (CTCb), and peripheral-blood stem-cell or bone-marrow support (n=274). Both groups received locoregional radiation therapy and tamoxifen for 5 years. The primary outcome measure was relapse-free survival, and analysis was by intention to treat.


At a median follow-up of 34.3 months, there were 81 breast-cancer relapses in the tailored FEC group versus 113 in the CTCb group (double triangular method p=0.04). 60 deaths occurred in the tailored FEC group and 82 in the CTCb group (log-rank p=0.12). Patients in the CTCb group experienced more grade 3 or 4 acute toxicity compared with the tailored FEC group (p<0.0001). Two treatment-related deaths (0.7%) occurred in the CTCb group. Six patients in the tailored FEC group developed acute myeloid leukaemia and three developed myelodysplastic syndrome.


Tailored FEC with G-CSF support resulted in a significantly improved relapse-free survival and fewer grade 3 and 4 toxicities compared with marrow-supported high-dose chemotherapy with CTCb as adjuvant therapy of women with high-risk primary breast cancer.

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