Gemcitabine/epirubicin/paclitaxel as neoadjuvant chemotherapy in locally advanced breast cancer: a phase II trial of the NSABP Foundation Research Group.
ABSTRACT This phase II protocol of neoadjuvant chemotherapy with gemcitabine/epirubicin/paclitaxel (GET) was designed to determine the pathologic complete response (pCR) rate in the breast, clinical response rate, disease-free survival, and overall survival at 2 years as well as toxicity in patients with locally advanced breast cancer. This trial also evaluated the feasibility of tissue collection for gene-expression profiling.
Seventy-six women with stage IIB, IIIA, and IIIB breast cancer were entered into this trial. Patients received a maximum of 6 cycles of neoadjuvant GET chemotherapy every 21 days (gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 intravenously [i.v.] on days 1 and 4, epirubicin 90 mg/m2 i.v. bolus on day 1, and paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 i.v. on day 1). After chemotherapy, patients underwent surgery and were assessed for pathologic response.
The pCR rate among the 74 patients evaluable for efficacy was 23% (95% CI, 14%-34.2%). Adverse events among the 76 patients evaluable for toxicity included anemia requiring transfusion (14.5%), infection with grade 3/4 neutropenia (10.5%), febrile neutropenia (7.9%), and platelet transfusion (6.6%). Infectious complications occurred in 24 patients (31.6%), of whom 18.4% were in the setting of neutropenia. High-quality RNA and successful probe synthesis were obtained from all pretreatment core biopsy specimens that contained tumor cells (n=66; 88%).
Neoadjuvant GET chemotherapy is an active regimen but with substantial toxicity. Tissue collection for gene-expression profiling is feasible in a multi-institutional setting.