• trastuzumab;
  • paclitaxel;
  • epirubicin;
  • neoadjuvant



A previously published prospective randomized phase 3 trial showed that administration of 24 weeks of primary systemic chemotherapy (PST) with paclitaxel and FEC75 (fluorouracil, epirubicin, cyclophosphamide) concurrently with trastuzumab in patients with HER2-positive primary breast cancer resulted in a 60% pathologic complete response rate (PCR) with no associated severe cardiac toxicity. The purpose of this study was to review the efficacy and safety of a similar regimen outside the setting of a clinical trial.


Patients with HER2-positive breast cancer (defined as either immunohistochemical 3+ or fluorescence in situ hybridization-positive) that had received 24 weeks of neoadjuvant trastuzumab concurrently with taxane and anthracycline-based chemotherapy between 2004 and 2006 were included in the analysis. PST chemotherapy consisted of paclitaxel (80 mg/m2) weekly for 12 weeks followed by 4 cycles of FEC75 (500 mg/m2, 75 mg/m2, and 500 mg/m2, respectively).


Forty patients were identified. The median age was 48 years (range, 29–81). In all, 60% of patients had stage III disease and 4 had inflammatory breast cancer. The PCR rate was 55% (95% confidence interval [CI], 38.5%–70.7%). At a median follow-up of 19 months. 5 patients had a recurrence, of which 4 did not achieve a PCR. No severe cardiac events were observed.


Stage II and III HER2-positive breast cancer patients achieved a high rate of PCR with trastuzumab given concurrently with paclitaxel and FEC75 chemotherapy. No severe cardiac events were observed with the regimen. The data concur with the results of a previously published trial. Cancer 2007. © 2007 American Cancer Society.