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A phase III randomized trial of cyclophosphamide, mitoxantrone, and 5-fluorouracil (CNF) versus cyclophosphamide, adriamycin, and 5-fluorouracil (CAF) in patients with metastatic breast cancer


One hundred patients with metastatic breast cancer were randomly selected to receive combined chemotherapy treatment with adriamycin (50 mg/m2) or mitoxantrone (12 mg/m2) associated with 5-fluorouracil (600 mg/m2) and cyclophosphamide (600 mg/m2) administered intravenously every 21 days with a maximum of ten cycles. All patients included in this study were under 75 years of age and had ECOG performance status of less than 4. They had not been treated previously with chemotherapy for metastatic disease. Patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy, which could not have included anthracyclines, had to have relapsed at least 12 months after the completion of therapy. There were no statistically significant differences in pretreatment characteristics or metastatic disease location between the two groups. Ninety-four patients were assessable for response. No differences were observed in response rate or in survival between the groups. The response rate (complete response (CR) and partial response (PR)) was 68% (13% CR and 55% PR for CAF; 0% CR and 68% PR for CNF). Median survival for all patients was 19 months (18 months with CAF and 19 months with CNF). All patients were assessable for toxicity. There were no differences in gastrointestinal and cardiac toxicity. More grade I-II hematologic toxicity episodes (p < 0.001) and treatment delays (p = 0.05) due to leucopenia were observed with the CNF group, and more grade III alopecia (p < 0.001) was observed with the CAF group. Patients received further therapeutic manoeuvres after finishing the study with a sequential treatment consisting of hormonal therapy and chemotherapy with mitomycin (M) -vinblastine (Vbl) (M 10 mg/m2 day 1, Vbl 5 mg/m2 days 1, 15 and 29; maximum 5 cycles). This chemotherapy treatment was received by 32 patients, with a response rate of 34% and grade III-IV hematologic toxicity of 37%. Treatment with CNF can be considered a good alternative to CAF for first-line treatment of metastatic breast cancer. M-Vbl treatment is useful as second-line treatment in patients with prior adriamycin exposure.

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Correspondence to M. C. Alonso.

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Alonso, M.C., Tabernero, J.M., Ojeda, B. et al. A phase III randomized trial of cyclophosphamide, mitoxantrone, and 5-fluorouracil (CNF) versus cyclophosphamide, adriamycin, and 5-fluorouracil (CAF) in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Tr 34, 15–24 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00666487

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Key words

  • adriamycin
  • chemotherapy
  • metastatic breast cancer
  • mitoxantrone