A phase II trial of dose-dense neoadjuvant gemcitabine, epirubicin, and albumin-bound paclitaxel with pegfilgrastim in the treatment of patients with locally advanced breast cancer.
Neoadjuvant anthracycline/taxane combinations, with or without gemcitabine, produce pathologic complete responses (pCRs) in 15%-25% of patients. In this multicenter phase II study, we attempted to increase efficacy and decrease toxicity of a 3-drug gemcitabine-containing neoadjuvant regimen by administering dose-dense therapy with pegfilgrastim, and including albumin-bound paclitaxel as the taxane. Patients and A total of 123 patients with locally advanced breast cancer were enrolled. Patients were treated with 6 doses of neoadjuvant gemcitabine 2000 mg/m2, epirubicin 50 mg/m2, and albumin-bound paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 intravenously administered at 14-day intervals. Following neoadjuvant chemotherapy, patients underwent either mastectomy or breast conservation surgery; pathologic response to treatment was assessed. Postoperatively, patients received 4 doses of gemcitabine 2000 mg/m2 with albumin-bound paclitaxel 220 mg/m2 at 14-day intervals. Pegfilgrastim 6 mg was administered subcutaneously on day 2 following each dose of chemotherapy. A total of 116 patients (95%) completed neoadjuvant chemotherapy and had subsequent surgical resection. Twenty-three patients (20%) had a pCR. The estimated 3-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival rates were 48% and 86%, respectively. Neoadjuvant treatment was well tolerated; only 11% of the patients had grade 3/4 neutropenia, with 1 episode of neutropenic fever. Other grade 3/4 toxicities occurred in < 10% of the patients. Neoadjuvant biweekly chemotherapy with gemcitabine/epirubicin/albumin-bound paclitaxel with pegfilgrastim is feasible and well tolerated. The pCR rate of 20% and the 3-year PFS rate of 48% are similar to results achieved with other commonly used neoadjuvant regimens.