New combinations with epirubicin in advanced breast cancer

Pierfranco Conte, Alessandra Gennari, Elisabetta Landucci, Valentina Guarneri, Sara Donati, Barbara Salvadori, Carmelo Bengala, Cinzia Orlandini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several trials have shown that anthracyclines and taxanes can be combined to achieve response rates ranging from 70% to 90%, with complete responses ranging from 19% to 41%. In an attempt to increase the activity while maintaining tolerability, gemcitabine (Gemzar) was added to the epirubicin (Ellence)/paclitaxel (Taxol) regimen. Among 36 metastatic breast cancer patients treated with this new combination, the overall response rate was 92%, including 31% with a complete response. Another attempt to improve the outcome of metastatic breast cancer patients involves a phase III multicentric randomized trial (MANTA-1) to evaluate if paclitaxel maintenance therapy after anthracycline/taxane combination therapy can improve time to progression and overall survival. Although anthracyclines are more frequently used in the adjuvant setting, it is important for the clinicians to know whether this class of drugs can be used again for those patients who develop metastatic disease. An analysis of 312 patients treated with epirubicin containing regimens as first-line treatment for metastatic disease shows that epirubicin-based regimens are active in patients already exposed to anthracyclines in the adjuvant setting, and that the risk of cardiac toxicity is low up to a cumulative epirubicin dose of 990 mg/m2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-27
Number of pages4
Issue number5 SUPPL. 7
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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