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Radiol Oncol. 2013 Mar;47(1):57-62. doi: 10.2478/raon-2013-0012. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

Epirubicin and docetaxel as neoadjuvant treatment of hormone receptor positive, HER-2 negative breast cancer: findings from two successive phase II studies.

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1
Divisions of Medical Oncology C, Centro di Riferimento Oncologico, Via Franco Gallini 2, 33081 Aviano, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We report on the activity of the combination of epirubicin and docetaxel given in neoadjuvant setting for 4 and 8 cycles respectively in 2 successive series of patients with large operable or locally advanced, hormone receptor positive, HER-2 negative breast cancer.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Patients were treated from 2002 to 2006 with epirubicin 90 mg/m(2) and docetaxel 75 mg/m(2) intravenously, every 3 weeks for 4 cycles before and 4 cycles after surgery (Series I - 13 patients), and from 2006 to 2010 with the same regimen administered for 8 cycles preoperatively (Series II - 37 patients), plus hormonal therapy for 5 years and radiation therapy if indicated. All Series I and 32 Series II patients were able to complete the preoperative chemotherapy.

RESULTS:

A complete response was found in 1 patient from Series I and 13 patients from Series II and the partial remission in 10 patients from Series I and 21 patients from Series II. Two Series I and 3 Series II patients did not respond clinically. Response rate (Series I/Series II) was 84/92%. All 50 patients underwent surgery. In Series I patients, 3 pCR occurred in the breast and the axilla was histologically negative in 2 cases. No evidence of disease both in the breast and in the axilla was achieved in 7.6% (1/13) of patients. In Series II patients, 8 pCR occurred in the breast and axilla was histologically negative in 15 patients. No evidence of disease both in the breast and in the axilla occurred in 10.8% (4/37) of patients. G3-G4 toxicity included myelosuppression in 3 patients from Series I and all patients from Series II, and mucositis in 1 patient from Series I and 4 patients from series II. No other G3-4 toxicities or toxic deaths occurred. Five-year progression free survival was 38% and 90% in Series I and Series II patients respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

The incidence of pathologic complete remissions was lower in our patient population, compared to reported data. A longer duration of the preoperative treatment might be associated with a longer progression-free survival.

KEYWORDS:

breast cancer; docetaxel; epirubicin; neoadjuvant chemotherapy

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