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Breast. 2012 Apr;21(2):142-9. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2011.12.012. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Epirubicin: is it like doxorubicin in breast cancer? A clinical review.

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Andrew Love Cancer Center, Geelong Hospital, and School of Medicine of Deakin University, Geelong VIC 3220, Australia.


Anthracyclines are among the most effective chemotherapy treatments available for various types of cancer. The anthracyclines commonly used in treatment of breast cancer are either epirubicin or doxorubicin. Epirubicin is an epimer of doxorubicin with important role in the chemotherapy treatment of both early and metastatic breast cancer. The efficacy of epirubicin is similar to doxorubicin while epirubicin has a different toxicity profile particularly in regard to cardiotoxicity. Epirubicin has been incorporated into most of the anthracycline containing chemotherapy combinations in well-conducted clinical trials involving large numbers of patients. It has also been investigated in studies involving the administration of epirubicin in dose-dense chemotherapy schedules. Short term follow up of dose-dense clinical trials demonstrated safety comparable to that of doxorubicin. This review summarizes published clinical trials investigating epirubicin in the treatment of early and advanced breast cancer.

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