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Minerva Medica 2002 August;93(4):303-8

language: English

Efficacy of anthracyclines and paclitaxel as first line chemotherapy in patients with visceral metastases of breast cancer

Rossi D., Graziano F., Luzi Fedeli S., Fedeli A., Alessandroni P., Catalano V., Giordani P., Testa E., Catalano G.


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Background. Anthracyclines combined with paclitaxel are one of the most active schedules in patients with advanced breast cancer: response rates range from 40 to 80%, considering all metastatic sites (visceral and soft tissues). We performed a non-randomized phase II trial with anthracyclines/paclitaxel combination to evaluate response and toxicity only in patients with visceral metastases.
Methods. Twenty-seven patients (median age 50 years; range 30-72) with visceral metastases of breast cancer were enrolled in this study. Overall, 11 patients had lung metastases (41%), 10 liver (37%), 4 liver-lung metastases (15%) and 2 peritoneal carcinosis (7%). 7 patients had received adjuvant anthracycline-based chemotherapy (26%) and 10 patients adjuvant CMF combination chemotherapy (37%); 10 patients (37%) received hormonal therapy for advanced disease. Treatment schedules were: group A) 17 patients, Adriamicyn 50 mg/m2 on day 1 i.v. bolus and Paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 on day 2 i.v. 3 hours infusion, every 3 weeks; group B) 10 patients, epirubicin 90 mg/m2 on day 1 i.v. bolus and paclitaxel 200 mg/m2 on day 2 i.v., 3 hours infusion, every 3 weeks. The number of cycles administered was 141 with a median of 5 (range 3-9).
Results. All patients were evaluable for response and toxicity. The objective response rate was 59% - 16 patients - (15% complete and 44% partial remission), 95% C.I. 40.7-77%; 10/17 in group A and 7/10 in group B. Stable disease 30% (8 patients) and progressive disease 11% (3 patients). The median duration of response was 5 months (range 1-16); median time to progression 13 months (range 3-18) and median survival 17 months (range 4-24). The main toxicity was neutropenia, occurred in 16 patients (59%; grade IV in 7 patients, of whom 2 febrile neutropenia, and grade III in 9 patients); grade III gastrointestinal toxicity in 2 patients; grade III neurological toxicity in 1 patient; grade III stomatitis in 2 patients. No congestive hearth failure or treatment death related was observed.
Conclusions. These schedules of anthracyclines and paclitaxel confirmed their efficacy in metastatic breast cancer even in patients with visceral disease. Neutropenia was the main toxicity; grade IV neutropenia was more frequently observed in epirubicin/paclitaxel arm.

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