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Bulletin du Cancer

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Epirubicin-based chemotherapy as adjuvant treatment for poor prognosis, node-negative breast cancer: 10-year follow-up results of the French Adjuvant Study Group 03 trial Volume 93, numéro 10, Octobre 2006

Auteurs
Centre hospitalier Princesse Grace, avenue Pasteur, 98000 Monaco

We evaluated the contribution of an epirubicin-based adjuvant chemotherapy on disease-free survival (DFS) in poor prognosis, node-negative breast cancer (BC) patients. Poor prognostic factors were defined as: pathologic tumor size ≥ 4 cm, estrogen-receptor negative, and progesterone-receptor negative. Scarff-Bloom Richardson grade 2 tumors must have two of these factors, and only one in case of grade 3. Between 1988 and 1994, 328 patients were randomized to receive either no systemic treatment (control, n = 161), or fluorouracil 500 mg/m 2, epirubicin 50 mg/m 2, cyclophosphamide 500 mg/m 2, 6 cycles every 21 days (FEC50, n = 167), without any hormonal treatment. The median follow up was 114 months. The 10-year DFS rates were 64 and 71%, respectively (p = 0.23). In the Cox regression model, independent prognostic factors of relapse were the number of nodes examined < 10 (p = 0.002), BCS (p = 0.01), and premenopausal status (p = 0.04). In this model, the relative risk of relapse was 1.46 (CI95 %: 1.05-1.87) in favor of FEC50. In patients who underwent BCS, 21 % developed a local relapse (24 versus 18 %, respectively). The 10-year local DFS was 70.5 and 79.3 %, respectively (p = 0.27). The 10-year overall survival was not different (74.1 versus 70.7 %, p = 0.82). After 10 years of follow-up, the FEC50 regimen reduced the risk of relapse in poor-prognosis node-negative BC patients. The incidence of local relapse was high, and probably related to inclusion criteria. Epirubicin was probably underdosed in such patients, and ongoing studies using 100 mg/m 2 of epirubicin will give us the answer in a near future.