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Addition of Carboplatin to Taxol®/Herceptin® Improves Progression-free Survival in Advanced Breast Cancer

According to an article recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the addition of carboplatin (Paraplatin®) to Taxol® (paclitaxel) and Herceptin® (trastuzumab) improves anticancer responses and progression-free survival when used as initial therapy in HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer refers to cancer that has spread from the breast to distant sites in the body. Treatment for metastatic breast cancer is often aimed at improving the duration of survival while maintaining patients’ quality of life.

The human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) is a protein that is often overexpressed in breast cancer cells. HER2 is involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. Cancers that overexpress HER2 are referred to as HER2-positive.

Herceptin is a monoclonal antibody that is targeted against the HER2 protein. Herceptin stops or slows the spread of HER2-positive cancer cells.

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Researchers from multiple medical centers recently conducted a clinical trial to directly evaluate the use of the chemotherapy agent carboplatin in addition to Taxol/Herceptin in women with breast cancer. This trial included 196 women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who were treated with either carboplatin/Taxol/Herceptin (TPC) or Taxol/Herceptin (TP). The treatment groups were directly compared.

  • Anticancer responses were achieved in 52% of patients treated with TPC compared to only 36% of patients treated with TP.
  • Half of the patients treated with TPC were alive with no cancer progression at nearly 11 months compared with 7.1 months for those treated with TP.
  • Both treatment regimens were well tolerated. Low immune cell levels accompanied by fever were more frequent in the group of patients treated with TPC.

The researchers concluded that TPC appears superior to TP in terms of anticancer responses and progression-free survival among women with HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer. Longer follow-up may reveal differences in survival between the two groups of patients.

Reference: Robert N, Leyland-Jones B, Asmar L, et al. Randomized Phase III Study of Trastuzumab, Paclitaxel, and Carboplatin Compared With Trastuzumab and Paclitaxel in Women With HER2–Overexpressing Metastatic Breast Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2006; 24: 2786-2792.

Related News:Additional Evidence that Herceptin® Benefits Women with HER2-Positive Breast Cancer(4/17/2006)

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