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According to results recently published at the 2006 annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Abraxane® (albumin-bound paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension) in combination with Xeloda® (capecibine) may be an effective treatment option for patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer refers to cancer that has spread from the breast to distant sites in the body. Because complete responses to treatment are difficult to achieve at this stage, patients with metastatic breast cancer are often treated with the goal of improving their duration and quality of life.

Paclitaxel is a chemotherapy agent commonly used in the treatment of breast cancer. Abraxane is a newer form of paclitaxel that is bound with albumin, a type of protein normally found in the human body. This form of paclitaxel delivers high concentrations of the active ingredient into the cancer cells and, compared to the original form of the drug, is associated with fewer side effects.

Researchers recently conducted a small clinical trial to evaluate the combination of Abraxane and Xeloda in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. The trial included 38 patients who had received no prior chemotherapy for metastatic disease; however, 40% had received prior radiation therapy, and approximately half had received previous chemotherapy for earlier-stage breast cancer.

Early results from this trial demonstrated the following:

  • Complete responses (complete disappearances of detectable cancer) were achieved in nearly 9% of patients.
  • Partial responses (partial regression of cancer) were achieved in 44% of patients.
  • Disease stabilization was achieved in 32.4% of patients.
  • Overall, this treatment regimen was generally well tolerated.

The researchers concluded that, although these results are preliminary, it appears that treatment with Abraxane and Xeloda may be effective for patients with metastatic breast cancer. Longer follow-up is necessary to confirm the effectiveness of this treatment regimen, and the researchers stated that a future clinical trial further evaluating Abraxane and Xeloda for these patients is warranted.

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Patients diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial further evaluating Abraxane and Xeloda or other promising therapeutic options. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute ( and

Reference: Swartzberg L, et al. Phase II trial of nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel (ABX) + capecitabine (XEL) in first-line treatment of metastatic breast cancer (MBC): interim results. Proceedings from the 2006 Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. December 2006. Abstract 1096.

Related News:

Abraxane® Improves Response Rates and Progression-free Survival-with Fewer Side Effects than Taxotere®-in Metastatic Breast Cancer (12/19/2006)

NCCN Adds Abraxane™ to Guidelines for Treatment of Advanced Breast Cancer (12/21/2005)

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