In a nutshell
This study looked at adding capecitabine (Xeloda) to standard treatment for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). It found that capecitabine improved outcomes for patients with TNBC.
Breast tissue growth responds to changing levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Some breast cancer can be treated by therapy which lowers levels of these hormones. TNBC is a type of breast cancer that cannot be treated with hormone therapy. It also does not respond to treatment targeting the HER2 growth factor. Instead, chemotherapy is used to treat TNBC. TNBC can be more difficult to treat than other types of breast cancer.
Capecitabine is a chemotherapy drug that can be added to other forms of chemotherapy. Capecitabine prevents the body from making thymidine, which is needed to make DNA (genetic material). This interferes with the cancer’s ability to grow. Some studies have found capecitabine can treat breast cancer which has spread to other areas of the body (metastasized). It is unclear whether capecitabine can improve outcomes for patients newly diagnosed with TNBC.
Methods & findings
This study combined data from six trials of capecitabine. 1599 patients with TNBC received chemotherapy with the addition of capecitabine. 1552 patients received chemotherapy alone (controls).
The patients using capecitabine were 23% less likely to have the cancer return. Patients taking capecitabine were also 31% more likely to survive overall.
Significantly more patients taking capecitabine developed pain, numbness or skin peeling in the hands and feet and diarrhea compared to the control group. However, patients taking capecitabine were significantly less likely to develop severe vomiting.
The bottom line
This study found that capecitabine added to standard treatment improved outcomes in patients with early-stage TNBC.
The fine print
The studies analyzed had different protocols. Further controlled studies are needed for stronger evidence.
Published By :
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
Dec 21, 2019
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