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Combination Chemotherapy With or Without Epirubicin in Treating Women With Stage I or Stage II Breast Cancer

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Cancer Institute (NCI) Identifier:
First received: November 1, 1999
Last updated: December 18, 2013
Last verified: February 2001

RATIONALE: Drugs used in chemotherapy use different ways to stop tumor cells from dividing so they stop growing or die. Combining more than one drug may kill more tumor cells. It is not yet known whether combination chemotherapy plus epirubicin is more effective than combination chemotherapy alone for stage I or stage II breast cancer.

PURPOSE: This randomized phase III trial is studying combination chemotherapy alone to see how well it works compared to combination chemotherapy and epirubicin in treating women with stage I or stage II breast cancer who have undergone surgery to remove the tumor.

Condition Intervention Phase
Breast Cancer
Drug: CMF regimen
Drug: cyclophosphamide
Drug: epirubicin hydrochloride
Drug: fluorouracil
Drug: methotrexate
Procedure: adjuvant therapy
Radiation: radiation therapy
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: National Breast Cancer Study of Epirubicin + CMF v Classical CMF Adjuvant Therapy

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Cancer Institute (NCI):

Estimated Enrollment: 2000
Study Start Date: March 1996
Study Completion Date: September 2008
Detailed Description:


  • Compare disease-free and overall survival of women with early stage breast cancer treated with adjuvant cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil with or without epirubicin.
  • Compare the quality of life in a subgroup of these patients treated with these regimens.

OUTLINE: This is a randomized study. Patients are stratified according to radiotherapy timing (concurrent versus sequential), nodal status (negative versus 1-3 versus at least 4), age (50 and under versus over 50), grade, and tumor size. Patients are randomized to one of two treatment arms.

  • Arm I: Patients receive oral cyclophosphamide on days 1-14 and methotrexate IV and fluorouracil IV on days 1 and 8. Treatment repeats every 4 weeks for 6 courses.
  • Arm II: Patients receive epirubicin IV on day 1 every 3 weeks for 4 courses followed by cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil, as in arm I, for 4 courses.

Some patients may receive radiotherapy during or after chemotherapy. Treatment continues in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

Quality of life is assessed in a subset of patients (N=500) before chemotherapy starts, at 3 months of treatment, at the end of chemotherapy, and at 6, 12, and 18 months after treatment.

Patients are followed annually for 10 years.

Peer Reviewed and Funded or Endorsed by Cancer Research UK

PROJECTED ACCRUAL: Approximately 2,000 patients will be accrued for this study within 4 years.


Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Senior
Genders Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No


  • Histological confirmation of invasive, early stage breast cancer
  • Prior complete excision of tumor required (wide local excision or mastectomy)
  • Hormone receptor status:

    • Not specified



  • Not specified


  • Female

Menopausal status:

  • Pre-, peri-, or post-menopausal

Performance status:

  • Not specified


  • Adequate bone marrow function


  • Adequate hepatic function


  • Adequate renal function


  • No prior cancer except for basal cell carcinoma or carcinoma in situ
  • Not pregnant or nursing
  • Fertile patients must use effective contraception


Biologic therapy:

  • Not specified


  • No prior chemotherapy

Endocrine therapy:

  • Concurrent hormone therapy allowed


  • No prior radiotherapy
  • Concurrent radiotherapy allowed


  • See Disease Characteristics
  • No more than 6 weeks since prior surgery to the breast
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00003577

United Kingdom
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, England, United Kingdom, CB2 2QQ
Sponsors and Collaborators
University Hospital Birmingham
Study Chair: Helena Earl, MBBS, PhD, FRCP Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  More Information

Earl H, Hiller L, Dunn JA, et al.: The National Epirubicin Adjuvant Trial (NEAT) and Scottish Cancer Trials Breast Group (SCTBG) br9601 randomized phase III adjuvant early breast cancer trials: the updated definitive joint analysis. [Abstract] J Clin Oncol 25 (Suppl 18): A-534, 11s, 2007.
Poole CJ, Earl HM, Dunn JA, et al.: NEAT (National Epirubicin Adjuvant Trial) and SCTBG BR9601 (Scottish Cancer Trials Breast Group) phase III adjuvant breast trials show a significant relapse-free and overall survival advantage for sequential ECMF. [Abstract] Proceedings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 22: A-13, 4, 2003.

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number): Identifier: NCT00003577     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: CDR0000066644  CRC-TU-NEAT  EU-98041 
Study First Received: November 1, 1999
Last Updated: December 18, 2013
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Cancer Institute (NCI):
stage I breast cancer
stage II breast cancer

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Breast Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Breast Diseases
Skin Diseases
Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal
Abortifacient Agents
Reproductive Control Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Antineoplastic Agents
Dermatologic Agents
Enzyme Inhibitors
Folic Acid Antagonists
Immunosuppressive Agents
Immunologic Factors
Antirheumatic Agents
Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors
Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
Alkylating Agents
Myeloablative Agonists
Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
Topoisomerase II Inhibitors
Topoisomerase Inhibitors processed this record on October 20, 2016