Combination versus sequential doxorubicin and docetaxel as primary chemotherapy for breast cancer: A randomized pilot trial of the Hoosier Oncology Group.

Author(s): Miller KD,  McCaskill-Stevens W,  Sisk J,  Loesch DM,  Monaco F,  Seshadri R,  Sledge GW Jr

Journal: J Clin Oncol

Date: 1999 Oct

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): COPTRG

PubMed ID: 10506597

PMC ID: not available

Abstract: PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of combination and sequential dose-dense chemotherapy with doxorubicin and docetaxel (Taxotere; Rhône-Poulenc Rorer, Collegeville, PA) as primary chemotherapy of breast cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with newly diagnosed stage II or noninflammatory stage III breast cancer were randomly assigned to receive the same total doses of doxorubicin and docetaxel over a 12-week period before definitive surgery. Patients in arm A received sequential therapy with doxorubicin 75 mg/m(2) every 2 weeks for three cycles followed by docetaxel 100 mg/m(2) every 2 weeks for three cycles. Patients in arm B received combination therapy with doxorubicin 56 mg/m(2) plus docetaxel 75 mg/m(2) every 3 weeks for four cycles. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor was administered on days 2 to 12 of each cycle in both groups. RESULTS: Forty patients were entered onto the trial. Pretreatment tumor size averaged 5.7 cm with clinically positive axillary lymph nodes in 23 patients (57%). As expected, myelosuppression was severe in both groups; however, >/= 80% of planned dose-intensity was delivered. Hand-foot syndrome was more common after sequential therapy. Clinical responses were similar in both groups, with an overall response rate of 87%, including 20% clinical complete remissions. Pathologic complete remission or residual in situ disease only was confirmed in five patients (12.8%). Patients who received sequential therapy had fewer positive lymph nodes (mean, 2.17 v 4.81; P <.037) at definitive surgery. CONCLUSION: Primary chemotherapy with doxorubicin and docetaxel is well tolerated and highly active. A sequential treatment schedule increases toxicity but may result in more substantial lymph node clearance than combination therapy.