Follow-up Data on Dose-dense Chemotherapy Confirm Benefit in Early Breast Cancer


breast cancerAccording to results presented at the 2006 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), updated results continue to demonstrate better efficacy with dose-dense chemotherapy than with conventional chemotherapy in early breast cancer.

Dose-dense chemotherapy (chemotherapy with a shortened interval between doses), has demonstrated improvement in outcomes compared to conventional chemotherapy in patients with high-risk, early breast cancer. Due to concerns about side effects, however, studies continue to evaluate the long-term effects of dose-dense therapy.

To compare dose-dense chemotherapy to conventional chemotherapy in patients with high-risk early breast cancer, researchers in Germany conducted a Phase III clinical trial.

The study enrolled 1,284 patients under the age of 65 who had at least four involved axillary (underarm) lymph nodes. Patients were assigned to receive either dose-dense or conventional chemotherapy with epirubicin, cyclophosphamide, and paclitaxel.

The results presented at the SABCS were from the third interim analysis.

  • There were no treatment-related deaths during therapy.
  • At five years relapse-free survival was 70% in the dose-dense arm, compared with 62% in the conventional-dose arm.
  • At five years overall survival was 82% in the dose-dense arm and 77% in the conventional-dose arm.
  • Quality of life declined during dose-dense therapy, but was recovered three months following completion of therapy.
  • 7% of patients in the dose-dense arm were hospitalized for febrile neutropenia (a low white blood cell count accompanied by fever), compared with just 2% in the conventional-dose arm.
  • There were no severe adverse effects on the heart and no unusual toxicities noted.

The researchers concluded that longer follow-up continues to demonstrate a significant improvement in relapse-free survival for dose-dense chemotherapy compared to conventional-dose chemotherapy in high-risk early breast cancer patients.

Reference: Moebus V, Leuck H, Thomssen C, et al. Dose-dense sequential chemotherapy with epirubicin, paclitaxel and cyclophosphamide in comparison to conventional dosed chemotherapy in high-risk breast cancer patients ³4+LN), mature results of an AGO-trial. Proceedings from the 2006 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Oral presentation December 17 2006. Abstract# 53.

© 1998-2006


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