Between November 1, 1983 and June 30, 1987, 510 node-positive, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer patients have been randomly allocated to receive either chemotherapy (six intravenous [IV] cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil [CMF] courses followed by four IV epirubicin courses) or 5 years of tamoxifen treatment or a combination of both therapies. After a median follow-up of 40 months, patients receiving the combined treatment achieved the best results, and those treated with chemotherapy alone achieved the worst, the difference being particularly evident in postmenopausal women. However, while the concurrent use of chemotherapy and tamoxifen did improve the results achieved by chemotherapy alone, particularly in postmenopausal women and in those with four or more involved nodes, it did not significantly improve the results achieved by tamoxifen alone, particularly in patients with higher ER tumor concentrations. Side effects were more numerous and more severe in patients receiving chemotherapy (with or without tamoxifen). Our findings, although still preliminary, confirm that tamoxifen should be the treatment of choice for postmenopausal breast cancer patients with node-positive, ER-positive tumors. In addition, the findings suggest that tamoxifen may represent a safe alternative to chemotherapy (at least to the cytotoxic regimen we used) for younger women, provided they have ER-positive tumors. In patients with ER-positive tumors, the addition of chemotherapy to tamoxifen does not seem to improve significantly the effectiveness of tamoxifen alone.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Clinical Oncology|
|Publication status||Published - 1990|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research