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Phase III Trial Of Doxorubicin, Paclitaxel, And The Combination Of Doxorubicin And Paclitaxel As Front-Line Chemotherapy For Metastatic Breast Cancer: An Intergroup Trial (E1193)

George W. Sledge, Donna Neuberg, Patricia Bernardo, James N. Ingle, Silvana Martino, Eric K. Rowinsky, William C. Wood

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Purpose: Between February 1993 and September 1995, 739 patients with metastatic breast cancer were entered on an Intergroup trial (E1193) comparing doxorubicin (60 mg/m2), paclitaxel (175 mg/m2/24 h), and the combination of doxorubicin and paclitaxel (AT, 50 mg/m2 and 150 mg/m2/24 h, plus granulocyte colony-stimulating factor 5 mg/kg) as first-line therapy. Patients receiving single-agent doxorubicin or paclitaxel were crossed over to the other agent at time of progression. Patients and Methods: Patients were well balanced for on-study characteristics. Results: Responses (complete response and partial response) were seen in 36% of doxorubicin, 34% of paclitaxel, and 47% of AT patients (P = .84 for doxorubicin v paclitaxel, P = .007 for v AT, P = .004 for paclitaxel v AT). Median time to treatment failure (TTF) is 5.8, 6.0, and 8.0 months for doxorubicin, paclitaxel, and AT, respectively (P = .68 for doxorubicin v paclitaxel, P = .003 for doxorubicin v AT, P = .009 for paclitaxel v AT). Median survivals are 18.9 months for patients taking doxorubicin, 22.2 months for patients taking paclitaxel, and 22.0 months for patients taking AT (P = not significant). Responses were seen in 20% of patients crossing from doxorubicin → paclitaxel and 22% of patients crossing from paclitaxel → doxorubicin (P = not significant). Changes in global quality-of-life measurements from on-study to week 16 were similar in all three groups. Conclusion: (1) doxorubicin and paclitaxel, in the doses used here, have equivalent activity; (2) the combination of AT results in superior overall response rates and time to TTF; and (3) despite these results, combination therapy with AT did not improve either survival or quality of life compared to sequential single-agent therapy.