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Regimen Information

For CMF, including Side Effects


Drugs in this Regimen:

For the treatment of Breast Cancer

How CMF chemotherapy is given and possible side effects.

CMF for the treatment of Breast Cancer

A chemotherapy regimen consisting of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil, which may be used in the adjuvant setting for the treatment of nonmetastatic breast cancer or alone for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.

CMF is the acronym for a chemotherapy regimen used in the treatment of breast cancer.

Drugs in the CMF combination:


= Cyclophosphamide


= Methotrexate


= Fluorouracil

Chemotherapy is often given as a combination of drugs. Combinations usually work better than single drugs because different drugs kill cancer cells in different ways.


  • Risk of Infection

  • Anemia

  • Nausea & Vomiting

  • Alopecia or Hair Loss

For more information, see the 'Expert Resources' tab below.

Community Responses

Often, the most helpful information regarding treatment side effects comes not from clinical brochures, but rather from other patients like you. We've collected the most helpful community resources to help you prepare for the side effects and coping tips for your chemotherapy regimen.

What side effects did you experience while on this medication?

I'm Yolanda, and I am currently receiving CMF Chemo for State 1 Breast Cancer to be followed with radiation treatment>

I received 4 treatments of CMF my oncologist was extremely supportive and helped me understand what I’d be going through. That said, I had a very severe reaction with the 3rd treatment, nausea and vomiting for an entire weekend. I didn’t want to continue, but I agreed to one more treatment, did not do the 6 my protocol called for. I also had some neuropathy of my left leg as it would give out on me~luckily I didn’t get seriously hurt. In addition to that I had 3 episodes where I was unable to walk without the help of my husband; the third being the worst as the pain was excruciating. I did not lose all of my hair, however it thinned out considerably mostly on the top and left side of my head. I also had a bald spot in the back right side. When my hair began growing back I had tremendous sensitivity and sometimes pain. My doctor explained this is rare and it could mean I’d be losing more hair or it’s growing back. My last chemo treatment was January 19, 2012 and my hair has filled out, however I still have intermittent sensitivity of my scalp. I can’t tie it back because it hurts. My neuropathy has resolved, my legs are fine and have no difficulty walking. I’m glad I did have the chemo and radiation as it makes me feel I did what I needed to do. I had stage 1 breast cancer. I hope this has helped with your decision. Many blessings to you.

  • Thu Nov 8, 2012
When it comes to your own medical care, you call the shots.

I received six CMF treatments and also had a severe reaction with the third treatment. I strongly recommend asking for a slow drip for the Cytoxin, as you can get a major sinus headache if it drips in too fast. Drink lots of fluids during and after treatment, and if you are not a vegetarian, eat lots of red meat for your red blood cells. Go to a dentist for a checkup and cleaning before you start your treatments. I had lots of fatigue.

I had CMF with radiation simultaneously, so my reactions might not be like yours are. I did not lose my hair, but I lost my fertility, even though CMF is not supposed to cause infertility. If you are of child-bearing age and want to have children, strongly consider harvesting your eggs.

Good luck and take it one day at a time.

  • Thu Nov 8, 2012

This discussion needs your voice!

What were the specific side effects that you experienced while taking this medication? How did you manage them?

What coping tips would you give to new patients on this regimen?

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This discussion needs your voice!

What do you wish you had known before taking this medication? What information would you like to pass on to patients who are beginning this medication?

Treatment Overview

This chemotherapy regimen is commonly used to treat:

See Expert Resources

The Navigating Care Library includes articles about cancer, chemotherapy regimens and drugs from the the National Cancer Institute and other experts.