Author | Gunther Bastert, MD

Articles

Neoadjuvant Therapy With Gemcitabine in Breast Cancer

December 02, 2004

Primary systemic therapy (ie, preoperative or neoadjuvant) increasesthe possibility for breast-conserving surgery in patients with primarybreast cancer. Patients with pathologic complete response to primarysystemic therapy have improved survival compared with those with persistenttumors. Several phase II trials have evaluated gemcitabine-containingdoublet or triplet regimens as primary systemic therapy for breastcancer, results of which have shown promising clinical and pathologicresponse rates with manageable toxicity. Results of a phase I/II studyof gemcitabine (Gemzar)/epirubicin (Ellence)/docetaxel (Taxotere), orGEDoc, with prophylactic filgrastim (Neupogen), as primary systemictherapy in 77 evaluable patients with primary breast cancer are reportedherein. Dose-limiting toxicities were grade 3 febrile neutropenia(n = 1) and grade 3 diarrhea (n = 2) at the fourth dose level ofGEDoc tested (gemcitabine at 800 mg/m2 days 1 and 8, epirubicin at90 mg/ m2 day 1, and docetaxel at 75 mg/m2 day 1). As assessed byultrasound, 92% of patients responded overall (22% complete response),and 79% of patients could undergo breast-conserving surgery. Thepathologic complete response rate in resected breast tissue was 26%.