Improved survival for sequentially as opposed to concurrently delivered neoadjuvant chemotherapy in non-metastatic breast cancer

B. E. P. J. Vriens, I. J. H. Vriens, M. J. B. Aarts, S. M. van Gastel, F. W. P. J. van den Berkmortel, T. J. Smilde, L. J. C. van Warmerdam, D. J. van Spronsen, P. G. M. Peer, M. de Boer, V. C. G. Tjan-Heijnen*, Breast Canc Trialists Grp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The INTENS study was designed to determine whether delivering neoadjuvant chemotherapy at a higher dose in a shorter period of time improves outcome of breast cancer patients.

Women with newly diagnosed breast cancer were randomly assigned to neoadjuvant chemotherapy consisting of four cycles of doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide followed by four cycles of docetaxel (AC 60/600-T 100 mg/m(2)) or six cycles of TAC as triplet chemotherapy (75/50/500 mg/m(2)) every 3 weeks. The primary outcome was the pathologic complete response (pCR), with disease-free and overall survival as secondary endpoints.

In total, 201 patients were included. The pCR rates were 28% for patients treated with AC-T and 19% for patients treated with TAC, with an odds ratio of 1.60 (95% CI 0.90-3.21). With a median follow-up of 6 years (range 0.04-8.41 years), the five-year disease-free survival was 81% for patients treated with sequentially AC-T and 71% for patients treated with concurrent triplet TAC chemotherapy with a stratified hazard ratio (HR) of 0.50 (95% CI 0.29-0.86). Five-year overall survival was 84% versus 76%, respectively, with a stratified HR of 0.55 (95% CI 0.29-1.03).

No differences were observed between the two treatment arms with respect to pCR rate, but the sequentially delivered chemotherapy outperformed the triplet combination chemotherapy in terms of survival, despite a lower cumulative dose per agent. GOV nr NCT00314977.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-600
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Breast cancer
  • Neoadjuvant chemotherapy
  • Disease-free survival
  • Overall survival


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