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J Clin Oncol. 2003 Mar 1;21(5):843-50.

Final results of a randomized phase III trial comparing cyclophosphamide, epirubicin, and fluorouracil with a dose-intensified epirubicin and cyclophosphamide + filgrastim as neoadjuvant treatment in locally advanced breast cancer: an EORTC-NCIC-SAKK multicenter study.

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European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Data Center, Brussels, Belgium.



To compare the efficacy of a standard anthracycline-based regimen to a dose-intensified anthracycline regimen in locally advanced breast cancer.


Locally advanced breast cancer patients were randomly assigned onto a study comparing cyclophosphamide (C; 75 mg/m(2) orally days 1 to 14), epirubicin (E; 60 mg/m(2) intravenously [IV] days 1, 8), and fluorouracil (F; 500 mg/m(2) IV days 1, 8) six cycles every 28 days versus E (120 mg/m(2) IV day 1), C (830 mg/m(2) IV day 1), and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (filgrastim; 5 micro g/kg/d subcutaneously days 2 to 13) six cycles every 14 days. The study was designed to detect a 15% improvement; that is, from 50% to 65% in median progression-free survival (PFS) in favor of the dose-intensified regimen.


A total of 448 patients were enrolled over a period of 3 years. The median dose intensity delivered for C and E reached, respectively, 85% and 87% of that planned in the CEF arm and 96% and 95% of that planned in the EC arm. The dose-intensified arm was slightly more emetogenic and generated more grade 3 to 4 anemia but less febrile neutropenia episodes. After a median follow-up of 5.5 years, 277 events have been reported. The median PFS was 34 and 33.7 months for CEF and EC, respectively (P =.68), and the 5-year survival rate was 53% and 51% for CEF and EC, respectively (P =.94).


Dose-intensified EC does not provide a measurable therapeutic benefit over CEF as neoadjuvant chemotherapy for unselected locally advanced breast cancer patients.

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