Researchers affiliated with the U.S. Oncology Research Network recently reported that the addition of dose-dense Abraxane™ (ABI-007) to dose-dense Adriamcyin® (doxorubicin) and Cytoxan® (cyclophosphamide) was well tolerated by patients with early breast cancer. Additional studies are necessary to determine the effectiveness of this approach. These results were presented at the 28th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS).
Dose-dense chemotherapy generally refers to chemotherapy administered with a shortened interval between cycles; for example, chemotherapy that is usually given every three weeks may be given every two weeks. These dose-dense regimens may kill more cancer cells, but they also allow less time for bone marrow recovery and are associated with anemia (low red blood cell level) and neutropenia (low white blood cell level).
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, reduces the incidence of side effects.
Preliminary information about the tolerability of dose-dense Abraxane following dose-dense Adriamycin and Cytoxan (AC) was recently presented at SABCS. The study enrolled 29 patients with early breast cancer. Patients were treated with AC every two weeks for four cycles, followed by Abraxane every two weeks for four cycles. This study was intended to set the stage for a larger phase III study of this treatment regimen.
All patients received AC as planned, and 27 out of 29 patients were able to receive Abraxane. Thirty-one percent of patients experienced grade II peripheral neuropathy (numbness, pain or tingling, usually in the hands or feet), and 14% experienced grade III peripheral neuropathy. By the end of follow-up, however, (if drug was discontinued or dose reduced) no patients had grade III neuropathy.
The researchers concluded that the addition of dose-dense Abraxane to dose-dense AC for the treatment of early breast cancer appears to be well tolerated. Results from future clinical trials evaluating this treatment approach are eagerly awaited.
Reference: Robert N, Ambro S, Krekow L, et al. Pilot study of Dose-Dense Doxorubicin + Cyclophosphamide Followed by ABI-007 in Patients with Early Stage Breast Cancer. Proceedings from the 28th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. December 2005. Abstract #2073.
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