Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of neoadjuvant chemotherapy with infusional 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), adriamycin and cyclophosphamide (iFAC) in locally advanced breast cancer (LABC). Patients and methods: Eighty-two LABC patients were treated with neoadjuvant iFAC chemotherapy including infusional 5-FU (1000 mg/m2, continuous intravenous infusion, days 1-3), adriamycin (40 mg/m2, intravenous bolus, day 1) and cyclophosphamide (600 mg/m2, intravenous bolus, day 1) every 3 weeks until maximum tumor response. Patients subsequently received surgery, adjuvant chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal therapy as appropriate. Results: Downstaging occurred in 71 of the 82 patients (86.6%). Seventy-two patients (67 patients with downstaging and five patients without downstaging) were resectable (resectability rate, 87.8%). The clinical response rate was 84.2%, with a complete response (CR) rate of 17.1% and a pathological CR rate of 7.8%. During 891 cycles of chemotherapy, the most common grade 3/4 hematological toxicity was leukopenia (36.0%). There were no treatment-related deaths. The median follow-up period was 51 months, with a median overall survival (OS) of 66 months, and a 5 year OS rate of 50.9% for all patients. The 5 year OS and disease-free survival (DFS) rates of the 64 patients who underwent surgery were 55.8% and 44.7%, respectively. Conclusions: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy with iFAC had a comparable response rate and DFS to the conventional bolus FAC regimen, with an acceptable toxicity in LABC using the AJCC 2002 staging system. An early response to neoadjuvant iFAC was a favorable prognostic factor.
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