Clinical Oncology/Epidemiology

Weekly doxorubicin and continuous infusional 5-fluorouracil for advanced breast cancer


Drug scheduling alterations can improve the therapeutic index of both 5-fluorouracil and anthracyclines. We investigated a regimen of weekly doxorubicin and continuous infusional 5-fluorouracil (AcF) in loco-regionally recurrent and metastatic breast cancer. The aims of this phase II study were to use low-dose weekly anthracyclines in a patient group where liver metastases are a frequent problem, to optimise scheduling of 5-fluorouracil using continuous infusion and to conserve alkylating agent use for late intensification in responding patients. Fifty-six patients received 5-fluorouracil 200 mg m-2 day-1 and doxorubicin 20-30 mg m-2 week-1 for at least 6 weeks. Sixty-two percent were chemonaive. Patients were evaluated for dose intensity, response, toxicity and survival. Of the assessable patients, 76% achieved UICC response criteria (20% complete response, 56% partial response). WHO grade 3+ toxicities were: alopecia, 98%; mucositis, 62%; neutropenia, 22%; and grade 3 palmar-plantar syndrome, 24%. Median survival was 13 months, with visceral metastasis conferring a significantly worse outcome (P = 0.03). Grade 3+ mucositis was more frequent with planned doxorubicin dose intensity > or = 25 mg m-2 week-1 (P = 0.04). AcF is highly active in breast cancer with acceptable toxicities and can be used before alkylating agent-based high-dose therapy.

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Gabra, H., Cameron, D., Lee, L. et al. Weekly doxorubicin and continuous infusional 5-fluorouracil for advanced breast cancer. Br J Cancer 74, 2008–2012 (1996).

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