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Results from a multicenter phase 3 trial have shown that a chemotherapy regimen of epirubicin (E), paclitaxel (T), and cyclophosphamide (C) for treating high-risk breast cancer patients significantly improves both disease-free survival and overall survival. More than 1200 patients randomly received either 3 courses each of E (150 mg/m2, q 2 wks), T (225 mg/m2, q 2 wks), and C (2500 mg/m2, q 2 wks) or the standard regimen of 4 courses of EC (90/600 mg/m2, q 3 wks) followed by 4 courses of T (175 mg/m2, q 3 wks).
The 3-year overall survival rate was 90% in the ETC arm, versus 87% in the standard arm. For women with breast cancer, this finding means that >35% more of them will remain alive and free of disease while on the ETC regimen. Lead investigator V.J. Mobus of the University of Frankfurt in Germany concludes, "These study results are a significant advancement in the treatment of breast cancer and confirm that dose-dense sequential regimens will become a standard option in the adjuvant treatment of node-positive breast cancer patients."