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Posted by on Jul 15, 2013 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

In this study researchers examined the effect of a specific chemotherapy combination on disease-free survival in patients with node negative breast cancer. FAC treatment was compared to FAC treatment plus paclitaxel (FACwP).

Some background

A combination of the drugs fluorouracil (efudex), doxorubicin (doxil), and cyclophosphamide (endoxane), or FAC therapy for short, can be used to treat breast cancer. These drugs are all chemotherapy agents that damage cancer cells and prevent tumor growth. Adding another chemotherapy medication called paclitaxel (abraxane) to FAC therapy could enhance patient survival. Paclitaxel is known to enhance survival in certain breast cancer patients, however, it is not known how this treatment effects patients with node-negative breast cancer (cancer that has not yet spread to nearby lymph nodes). Although the addition of paclitaxel might improve survival, it could also be associated with more side effects. In order to assess benefits of survival versus side effects, researchers compared standard FAC therapy to FACwP.

Methods & findings

1,917 women with node-negative breast cancer were recruited for this study. 931 received FACwP and 986 received FAC alone. After a 5 year follow-up, the researchers determined that 93% of FACwP patients survived without disease progression, compared to 90.3% of patients treated with FAC alone. Although disease-free survival (the amount of time until the cancer progressed) was better in the FACwP treated group, there were more adverse events associated with this treatment.

The bottom line

For patients with node-negative breast cancer, FACwP therapy results in better disease-free survival than FAC alone, but could cause significantly more adverse side effects.

The fine print

Some of the authors of this article have previously received payments from Bristol Meyers-Squibb, who manufactures and supplied paclitaxel.

What’s next?

Consult with your physician on the best chemotherapy combination to treat your condition.

Published By :

Journal of clinical oncology

Date :

Jun 10, 2013

Original Title :
Fluorouracil, Doxorubicin, and Cyclophosphamide (FAC) Versus FAC Followed by Weekly Paclitaxel As Adjuvant Therapy for High-Risk, Node-Negative Breast Cancer: Results From the GEICAM/2003-02 Study.
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