Résumé : BACKGROUND: The potential cardiotoxicity of the doxorubicin-paclitaxel regimen, when paclitaxel is given shortly after the end of the anthracycline infusion, is an issue of concern, as suggested by small single institution Phase II studies. METHODS: In a large multicenter Phase III trial, 275 anthracycline naive metastatic breast carcinoma patients were randomized to receive either doxorubicin (60 mg/m(2)) followed 30 minutes later by paclitaxel (175 mg/m(2) 3-hour infusion; AT) or a standard doxorubicin-cyclophosphamide regimen (AC; 60/600 mg/m(2)). Both treatments were given once every 3 weeks for a maximum of six cycles. Close cardiac monitoring was implemented in the study design. RESULTS: Congestive heart failure (CHF) occurred in three patients in the AT arm and in one patient in the AC arm (P = 0.62). Decreases in left ventricular ejection fraction to below the limit of normal were documented in 33% AT and 19% AC patients and were not predictive of CHF development. CONCLUSIONS: AT is devoid of excessive cardiac risk among metastatic breast carcinoma patients, when the maximum planned cumulative dose of doxorubicin does not exceed 360 mg/m(2).