Dose-finding study of paclitaxel and cyclophosphamide in advanced breast cancer

O. Pagani, C. Sessa, G. Martinelli, T. Cerny, J. De Jong, A. Goldhirsch, M. Zimatore, F. Cavalli

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Background: The toxicity profile of prolonged infusions of paclitaxel in combination with cyclophosphamide in metastatic breast cancer has already been defined. The objective of this dose-finding study was to determine the maximum tolerable doses (MTDs) of shorter (three-hour) infusions of paclitaxel in combination With i.v. bolus cyclophosphamide in patients who had previously received a maximum of one chemotherapy for advanced breast carcinoma. The MTD of the same regimen with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) suPPort was then established. Patients and methods: Eighty women with metastatic breast cancer received a total of 352 fully evaluable courses of therapy. The starting doses were paclitaxel 135 mg/m2 and cyclophosphamide 750 mg/m2 given every three weeks. At least three patients were treated at each dose level and if there were dose-limiting toxic effects during the first cycles three additional patients were entered. G-CSF support (5 μg/kg s.c.) was added to the second cycle if specific dose-limiting toxicities had occurred during the first cycle. The MTD was defined as the dose level at which more than two of six patients presented dose-limiting toxicities during the first cycle. Results: Febrile neutropenia (n = 4) and severe thrombocytopenia (n = 1) defined the MTDs of paclitaxel as 200 mg/m2 and of cyclophosphamide as 2,000 mg/m2 with or without G-CSF in patients with and, respectively, without prior chemotherapy for advanced disease. Non- hematologic toxicity was moderate. Recommended doses were 200 mg/m2 of paclitaxel and 1,750 mg/m2 of cyclophosphamide with or without G-CSF in patients with and, respectively, without prior chemotherapy. The overall response rate was 25% and 50%, respectively, in patients with and without prior chemotherapy for metastatic disease. Complete remissions (9%) were reported only in patients without prior chemotherapy; antitumour activity in women with anthracycline-resistant disease, with an 8% response rate (95% CI: 1%-26%), was poor. Conclusions: Paclitaxel at 200 mg/m2 and cyclophosphamide at 1,750 mg/m2 can be safely administered every three weeks to women with advanced breast cancer. The moderate antitumour activity observed with the schedule tested argues against its use as initial therapy for advanced breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-661
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997


  • Breast cancer
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • G-CSF
  • Paclitaxel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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