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Posted by on Jun 28, 2018 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study was a meta-analysis (a review of all the relevant research) on the use of platinum-based chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Authors concluded that platinum-based chemotherapy is highly effective in this type of breast cancer.

Some background

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is breast cancer that does not have certain hormone receptors. This makes it unresponsive to hormone-based therapy and more difficult to treat. However, TNBC may be more sensitive to chemotherapy. Platinum agents are chemotherapy drugs which damage DNA in cancer cells, causing the cells to die. It is important to research if this treatment is useful in TNBC. 

Methods & findings

This study analysed nine randomized controlled trials (a specific type of study). In each of these trials, platinum-based chemotherapies were compared to standard chemotherapies on women with TNBC. There were slight differences in the methods of all the studies. 8/9 of them used carboplatin (Paraplatin) as the platinum agent.

Overall, 52.1% of the patients who received platinum-based chemotherapy had pathologically complete responses (no signs of disease after treatment), compared to 37% in the platinum-free group. Only two of the trials reported overall survival rates, but there was no difference seen between the platinum based and platinum free groups. There were some side effects seen in all the studies. Seven of the studies reported a reduction in white blood cells which fight off infection. Anemia (reduction in red blood cell function) was reported in six trials, with 10.8% of patients in the platinum-based group developing anemia compared to 0.4% in the platinum free group. Low platelets (part of blood involved in clotting) was reported in seven of the trials. Overall, 11% of patients in the platinum group developed low platelets compared to 1% in the platinum free group.  The therapy was found to be more effective in patients with BRCA mutations (an abnormal gene in breast cancer), but was effective in all patients.

The bottom line

The study concluded that platinum-based chemotherapy was an effective treatment for TNBC but resulted in some side effects which affected the blood.

The fine print

This is a very good analysis, because the authors looked at a lot of different studies and pooled the results, resulting in a high level of accuracy. However, the studies that the authors included did not have a large amount of information on overall survival.

What’s next?

Discuss with your oncologist about using platinum-based  and discuss whether it could be an option for treatment.

Published By :

Annals of oncology : official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology

Date :

Jun 04, 2018

Original Title :

Platinum-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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