Docetaxel given after doxorubicin reduces recurrence

April 05, 2016

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.

jncicancerspectrum.oupjournals/

The findings strengthen the concern that acrylamide is carcinogenic in the quantities to which ordinary people are exposed through their diet. It should also be noted that a new Dutch study shows an association between acrylamide in foods and ovarian and endometrial cancer.

???It is, however, important to stress that neither study indicates an unambiguous association between acrylamide in foods and cancer. It is, for example, uncertain whether the observed effect on breast cancer is instead related to other chemical compounds formed along with acrylamide during the heating of foods. Another uncertainty is whether some of the acrylamide originates from sources other than foods,??? says Pelle Thonning Olesen, scientist at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.

???Further research into the potential adverse effects of acrylamide is imperative before any definite conclusions can be drawn on the significance of the substance for cancer in general. At the same time, it emphasises the importance of continuing the research and initiatives aimed to reduce acrylamide levels in the human diet,??? adds Anne Tj??nneland, chief physician at the Danish Cancer Society.

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