Public Release:  Docetaxel given after doxorubicin reduces recurrence

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Adding the drug docetaxel to anthracycline-based chemotherapy slightly improved disease-free survival in breast cancer patients, according to a randomized clinical trial published online January 8 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Docetaxel has previously been shown to be more effective than doxorubicin (an anthracycline) for treating patients with advanced breast cancer. Therefore, researchers wanted to test it in patients receiving chemotherapy after surgery.

Prudence Francis, M.D., of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues conducted a randomized, controlled phase III trial that compared patients who received doxorubicin-based chemotherapy with and without docetaxel. The trial also examined whether docetaxel should be given after doxorubicin or at the same time. The researchers compared disease-free survival for each treatment.

Overall, patients receiving the docetaxel treatment had an improvement in disease-free survival that was borderline statistically significant. Patients receiving docetaxel after doxorubicin had a five-year disease-free survival rate of 78 percent, compared with 74 percent for those receiving the two drugs at the same time. Patients in the control arm--those who received only doxorubicin-based chemotherapy--had a five-year disease-free survival rate of 73 percent. However, there was no statistically significant difference in overall survival between patients who received docetaxel and those who did not.

"Important differences may be related to doxorubicin and docetaxel scheduling, with sequential, but not concurrent, administration appearing to produce better [disease-free survival] than anthracycline-based adjuvant chemotherapy," the authors write.

###

Contact: Prudence Francis, prue.francis@petermac.org, 61-3-9509-2514

Citations: Francis P, Crown J, Di Leo A, Buyse M, Balil A, Andersson M, Nordenskjöld B, Lang I, et al. Adjuvant Chemotherapy With Sequential or Concurrent Anthracycline and Docetaxel: Breast International Group 02 - 98 Randomized Trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 2008; 100:121-133

Note to Reporters:

We have started up an e-mail list to alert reporters when papers are available on the EurekAlert site. If you would be interested on being on this list, please let us know at jncimedia@oxfordjournals.org. The content will continue to be available through EurekAlert's e-mail system and our EurekAlert page.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute is published by Oxford University Press and is not affiliated with the National Cancer Institute. Attribution to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute is requested in all news coverage. Visit the Journal online at http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.