Weekly epirubicin plus docetaxel as first-line treatment in metastatic breast cancer

T. Gamucci, A. M. D'Ottavio, E. Magnolfi, M. Barduagni, A. Vaccaro, I. Sperduti, L. Moscetti, F. Belli, L. Meliffi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of a weekly schedule of epirubicin in combination with docetaxel in the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). A total of 43 women with MBC not previously treated with chemotherapy for metastatic disease received weekly epirubicin 25 mg -2 and docetaxel 25 mg m -2 for a maximum of five cycles (total cumulative epirubicin dose of ≤900 mg m-2). Dose reduction was not permitted. Objective response and evaluation of toxicity profile were the primary study end points; time to progression and overall survival were secondary end points. Patients were followed for a median of 21 (4-38) months. Analysis was by intent to treat; 33 patients completed five cycles of therapy, and the median dose of epirubicin administered to the 43 patients was 23 mg m-2. Twenty-five patients (58%) achieved a partial response and one (2%) achieved a complete response. An additional 12 patients (28%) had stable disease. The median time to progression was 11 months (95% confidence intervals (CI) 7-14) overall, and 13 months (95% CI 12-14) in the 26 patients who responded to treatment. Median overall survival was 25 months for responders and 14 months for nonresponders. Grade 3/4 neutropenia occurred in 16% of patients and in 6% of cycles. One patient developed cardiac toxicity (20% reduction in left ventricular ejection fraction). The combination of epirubicin plus docetaxel is highly active in MBC, with a manageable toxicity profile. Such a weekly schedule might provide a valuable treatment option for MBC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1040-1045
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 22 2007


  • Chemotherapy
  • Metastatic breast cancer
  • Three week schedule
  • Weekly docetaxel
  • Weekly epirubicin
  • Weekly schedule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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