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Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2006 May;58(2):166-75. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Dose-dense adjuvant chemotherapy for node-positive breast cancer in women 60 years and older: feasibility and tolerability in a subset of patients in a randomized trial.

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University Medicine Berlin, Department of Senology, Charité Campus Mitte, Schumannstr. 20/21, 10117 Berlin, Germany.


To evaluate the feasibility and tolerability of dose-dense adjuvant chemotherapy for older patients with node-positive breast cancer, a retrospective subset analysis compared dose delays and dose reductions for women aged > or = 60 years with those of younger women. Patients were randomized to a dose-dense (DD, 14-day cycle) or conventional-schedule (CS, 21-day cycle) regimen. DD patients (n = 104; 25 aged > or = 60 years) received epirubicin 90 mg/m2 plus paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 (four cycles), then cyclophosphamide 600 mg/m2, methotrexate 40 mg/m2 and fluorouracil 600 mg/m2 (CMF 600/40/600) (three cycles), plus filgrastim 5 microg/kg per day in every cycle. CS patients (n = 107; 27 aged > or = 60 years) received epirubicin 90 mg/m2 plus cyclophosphamide 600 mg/m2 (four cycles), then CMF 600/40/600 (three cycles), plus filgrastim if required. Delays were more common in older patients in both the DD and CS groups (DD, 17% versus 6%; CS, 11% versus 6%), as were Grades 3-4 leukopenia (26% versus 12%) and neutropenia (33% versus 25%). All older DD and 89% of older CS patients received all seven chemotherapy cycles, with 99% of cycles at full dose. This study demonstrates that a dose-dense regimen combining epirubicin and paclitaxel can be administered to patients > or = 60 years of age with a tolerable safety profile.

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