An EORTC pilot study of filgastrim (recombinant human granulocyte colony stimulating factor) as support to a hight dose-intensive epiadriamycin-cyclophosphamide regimen in chemotherapy-naive patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer
BACKGROUND: In an attempt to increase chemotherapy dose intensity by step-wise reduction of the time interval between treatment cycles, filgrastim was administered to breast cancer patients receiving a three-month combination chemotherapy with epirubicin (E) and cyclophosphamide (C).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Chemotherapy-naïve patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer received fixed doses of E (120 mg/m2) and C 9830 mg/m2) by 15-min i.v. infusion on day 1 of each cycle and filgrastim at a dose of 4 micrograms/kg once daily by SC injection starting 24 hours after chemotherapy. Cohorts of patients were treated in successive schedules, each schedule corresponding to a specified time interval between chemotherapy cycles. The toxicity observed in each schedule was evaluated before patients were accrued to the next schedule, which corresponded to a shorter time interval between chemotherapy cycles.
RESULTS: The maximum tolerated schedule was E (120 mg/m2) plus C 9830 mg/m2) given every 14 days with filgrastim support from day 2 until day 13. On this schedule, 5 of 12 patients experienced dose-intensity-limiting toxicities (DLT) during the 3-month study period. Non-hematological DLT occurred in 2/12 patients (mucositis, skin toxicity) while /312 experienced febrile neutropenia requiring i.v. antibiotics. All patients achieved recovery of ANC to >1.5 x 10(9)/l by the time of scheduled retreatment. The combination of filgrastim with this regimen did not seem to add major toxicities. The efficacy was high, with 87% of patients achieving an objective response and a median response duration of 18 months (range: 4-52 months).
CONCLUSIONS: Filgrastim permits at 33% increase in 'EC' dose intensification over that of the conventional every-3-week administration. Randomized studies should now be initiated to evaluate the merit, if any, of 'accelerated' chemotherapy in advanced breast cancer.