JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

FEC versus sequential docetaxel followed by epirubicin/cyclophosphamide as adjuvant chemotherapy in women with axillary node-positive early breast cancer: a randomized study of the Hellenic Oncology Research Group (HORG)

Aristides Polyzos, Nikolaos Malamos, Ioannis Boukovinas, Adamos Adamou, Nikolaos Ziras, Kostas Kalbakis, Stylianos Kakolyris, Kostas Syrigos, Pavlos Papakotoulas, Charalambos Kouroussis, Nikolaos Karvounis, Lambros Vamvakas, Charalambos Christophyllakis, Athanasios Athanasiadis, Ioannis Varthalitis, Vassilis Georgoulias, Dimitris Mavroudis
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 2010, 119 (1): 95-104
19636702
A randomized multicenter phase III study was conducted to compare the sequential docetaxel followed by epirubicin/cyclophosphamide combination with that of FEC regimen as adjuvant chemotherapy in women with axillary node-positive early breast cancer. Seven hundred and fifty-six women with axillary lymph node-positive breast cancer were randomized to receive either 4 cycles of docetaxel (100 mg/m(2)) followed by 4 cycles of epirubicin (75 mg/m(2)) plus cyclophosphamide (700 mg/m(2)) (experimental arm) or 6 cycles of FEC (epirubicin 75 mg/m(2), cyclophosphamide 700 mg/m(2), and 5-fluorouracil 700 mg/m(2); control arm). All regimes were administered every 3 weeks. The primary end point was five-year disease-free survival (DFS). After a median follow-up period of 5 years, 233 (30.8%) relapses had occurred (108 and 125 in the experimental and control arms, respectively; P = 0.181). The five-year DFS was 72.6% (95% CI 63.8-81.3%) and 67.2% (95% CI 58.0-76.4%) for women randomized in the experimental and control arms, respectively (P = 0.041; log rank test). There was no difference in the overall survival between the two arms (83.8 and 81.4% in the experimental and control arms, respectively; P = 0.533). The experimental arm was associated with increased neutropenia requiring administration of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor in 90.5% of the patients as compared with 74.1% in the control arm (P = 0.0001). The sequential docetaxel followed by epirubicin/cyclophosphamide adjuvant chemotherapy regimen resulted in improved five-year DFS in women with axillary node-positive early breast cancer at the expense of increased but manageable myelotoxicity.

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