Cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil with and without doxorubicin in the adjuvant treatment of resectable breast cancer with one to three positive axillary nodes

A. Moliterni, G. Bonadonna, P. Valagussa, L. Ferrari, M. Zambetti

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Abstract

In the attempt to improve current adjuvant results in patients with one to three positive axillary lymph nodes, in November 1981 we activated a prospective randomized study to assess the effectiveness of intravenous (IV) cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil (CMF) for 12 courses versus CMF for eight courses followed by Adriamycin (doxorubicin; Farmitalia Carlo Erba, Milan, Italy) for four courses. The 5-year results were evaluated in a total of 486 patients entered into the study up to December 1987. CMF chemotherapy was delivered IV for a total of 12 courses when given alone and for eight courses when followed by four courses of Adriamycin. All drugs were recycled every 3 weeks. Rather than temporarily reducing doses, drug administration was delayed for 1 to 2 weeks in the face of myelosuppression on the planned day of treatment. After a median follow-up of 61 months, no significant differences were evident between the treatment groups in terms of relapse-free (CMF 74% v CMF followed by Adriamycin 72%) and total survival (CMF 89% v CMF followed by Adriamycin 86%). Drug treatments were fairly well tolerated and devoid of life-threatening toxicity. Present results, which were not influenced by menopausal status, indicate that Adriamycin given after CMF failed to improve treatment outcome over CMF alone. However, the role of Adriamycin in an adjuvant setting remains to be further clarified. Considering the good 5-year results achieved in this study at the expense of minimal toxicity, full-dose CMF remains, at present, the adjuvant chemotherapy of choice for patients with one to three positive nodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1124-1130
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Volume9
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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