To assess the efficacy and the toxicity of a new combination of epirubicin, cyclophosphamide and paclitaxel as neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer.Methods
Patients with stage II and III breast cancer received 3-4 cycles of epirubicin 75 mg/m2 plus cyclophosphamide 600 mg/m2 on day 1, and paclitaxel at a dose of 100 mg on days 1, 8, 15 and 22 on a 28-day cycle.Results
Forty-nine patients were enrolled in the study. Stage II was present in 16 patients (32.7%) and stage III in 33 patients (67.3%). Relevant toxicities were nausea/vomiting grades III-IV in 6 patients (12.2%) and neutropenia grade III-IV in 33 patients (67.3%). The overall clinical response rate was 83.7%. Partial response was observed in 25 patients (51%), complete response in 16 patients (32.7%), stable disease in 7 patients (14.3%) and progression in 1 patient. Thirty-three non-inflammatory breast cancer patients underwent surgery, 29 with breast-conserving surgery (87.9%). Pathological complete response was found in 5 patients (15.1%).Conclusions
The combination of epirubicin, cyclophosphamide and weekly paclitaxel as given in this study is safe and shows good activity in the neoadjuvant setting of stage II and III breast cancer patients.