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This study was originally designed as a phase I/II study, with a dose escalation of docetaxel in combination with epirubicin 50 mg m-2 and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) 200 mg m-2 day-1. However, as dose escalation was not possible, the study is reported as a phase II study of the combination to assess response and toxicity. A total of 51 patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer were treated on this phase II study, with doses of docetaxel 50 mg m-2, epirubicin 50 mg m-2 and infusional 5-FU 200 mg m-2 day-1 for 21 days. The main toxicity of this combination was neutropenia with 89% of patients having grade 3 and 4 neutropenia, and 39% of patients experiencing febrile neutropenia. Nonhaematological toxicity was mild. The overall response rate in the assessable patients was 64%, with median progression-free survival of 38 weeks, and median survival of 70 weeks. The ETF regimen was found to be toxic, and it was not possible to escalate the dose of docetaxel above the first dose level. This regimen has therefore not been taken any further, but as a development of this a new study is ongoing, combining 3-weekly epirubicin, weekly docetaxel and capecitabine, days 1-14. © 2004 Cancer Research UK.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of Cancer

Publication Date





2131 - 2134