Epirubicin and ifosfamide in metastatic breast cancer.
In a randomized, phase II trial, we evaluated the effectiveness of continued chemotherapy with epirubicin/ ifosfamide versus unmaintained treatment interruption in advanced metastatic breast cancer. Three hundred fifty-seven patients were enrolled and 331 were evaluable for response. Complete response was achieved in 25 patients (8%) and partial response in 121 patients (37%). Pretreatment status correlated significantly with response (complete and partial response). While 54% of unpretreated patients responded, only 42% of the patients responded who had been pretreated with adjuvant chemotherapy and 33% who had been pretreated in the metastatic stage of disease; 69 patients (21%) had disease progression. Of 11 patients pretreated in both the adjuvant and metastatic setting, only two responded. Toxicity of treatment was mild, with leukopenia being the treatment-limiting factor. Thrombocyte levels were not altered significantly by treatment. Thus, there seems to be room for dose escalation using granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. There was no considerable cardiotoxicity, central nervous system toxicity, or cystitis observed. The low rate of cardiotoxicity appeared to be related to dose fractionation of epirubicin. After randomization of patients to treatment interruption versus continuation of chemotherapy, a longer relapse-free survival was observed for patients who continued chemotherapy (mean relapse-free survival, 2+ months); however, this did not translate into prolonged survival. The cumulative scores of toxicity and quality of life parameters showed increasing superiority for treatment interruption. Therefore, a strategy of treatment until maximum response and subsequent treatment interruption seems to be superior to treatment continuation.
Becher, R; Kloke, O; Hayungs, J; Hartwich, G; Bartels, H; Szanto, J; Wolf, E; Illiger, HJ; Halabi, S; Rieche, K; Hering, KG; Ohl, S; DeDycker, R; Huhn, R; Fischedick, AR; Höfeler, H; Pielken, HJ; Hawig, I; Hirche, H; Seeber, S
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