Adjuvant therapy in breast cancer

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Weekly paclitaxel adjuvant therapy for breast cancer may result in better overall survival than other regimens, the results of a US study suggest. A total of 4,950 women with axillary lymph node positive or high-risk lymph node negative breast cancer initially received four cycles of chemotherapy (doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide). They then received one of four adjuvant regimens: IV paclitaxel or docetaxel at three-week intervals for four cycles or at one-week intervals for 12 cycles. Estimated disease-free survival was 81.5 per cent for weekly paclitaxel, 81.2 per cent for three-weekly docetaxel, 77.6 per cent for weekly docetaxel and 76.9 per cent for three-weekly paclitaxel. However, weekly paclitaxel was associated with greater toxicity than the standard three-weekly paclitaxel regimen.

Sparano JA, Wang M, Martino S et al. N Engl J Med 2008;358:1663-71

Originally published in the June 2008 edition of MIMS Oncology & Palliative Care.

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