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Br J Cancer. 1995 Jun;71(6):1283-7.

CMF vs alternating CMF/EV in the adjuvant treatment of operable breast cancer. A single centre randomised clinical trial (Naples GUN-3 study).

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Division of Medical Oncology, School of Medicine, University of Naples Federico II, Italy.


The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis of Goldie and Coldman that the use of non-cross-resistant regimens of chemotherapy could lead to maximal anti-tumour effect. We compared standard CMF (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, fluorouracil) with alternating CMF/EV (epirubicin, vincristine) in the adjuvant therapy of early breast cancer. Stage II premenopausal node-positive or post-menopausal node-positive oestrogen receptor-negative and stage III breast cancer patients were eligible for the study. From January 1985 to December 1990, 220 patients were randomised (115 to CMF and 105 to CMF/EV). Toxicity was mild; neurotoxicity, vomiting and hair loss were more frequent in the CMF/EV group, while permanent amenorrhoea, diarrhoea, stomach ache and minor infections occurred more often in the CMF arm. At a follow-up of 48 months, 113 patients (51.4%) had had recurrence (62 on CMF and 51 on CMF/EV) and 54 (24.5%) had died (30 on CMF and 24 on CMF/EV). There was no significant difference in disease-free and overall survival between the two arms. After adjusting for menopausal status and stage, the relative risk (RR) of recurrence for CMF/EV patients was 0.93 (95% CL 0.64-1.35), while the RR of death was 0.85 (95% CL 0.49-1.47). In conclusion, the Goldie-Coldman model of alternating therapy is not confirmed in this trial of adjuvant therapy of early breast cancer, although in view of its design a difference of less than 20% in 3 year disease-free survival could not be excluded.

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