According to results recently presented at the 2006 annual meeting of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), the addition of Xeloda® (capecitabine) to Herceptin® (trastuzumab) and Taxotere® (docetaxel) delays cancer progression among patients with advanced breast cancer by 4.5 months.
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.
Treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer often includes Herceptin plus the chemotherapy agent Taxotere. Researchers recently conducted a phase II clinical trial evaluating the addition of Xeloda, an oral chemotherapy agent that provides similar anticancer activity as the chemotherapy agent 5-fluorouracil. This trial, referred to as the CHAT trial, included 222 patients with advanced, HER2-positive breast cancer. One-hundred-ten participants were treated with Herceptin plus Taxotere, and 112 were treated with Xeloda, Herceptin, and Taxotere.
- Half of the patients treated with Xeloda/Herceptin/Taxotere had cancer progression at 18.2 months, compared with only 13.8 months for those treated with Herceptin/Taxotere.
- Half of the patients treated with Xeloda/Herceptin/Taxotere were alive without cancer progression at nearly 15 months, compared with nearly 13 months for those treated with Herceptin/Taxotere.
- Treatment with the addition of Xeloda was well tolerated.
The researchers concluded that the addition of Xeloda to Herceptin plus Taxotere delays cancer progression and improves progression-free survival in patients with metastatic, HER2-positive breast cancer. Furthermore, the addition of Xeloda was well tolerated, allowing patients to potentially delay more aggressive therapies for their disease.
Patients with metastatic breast cancer may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of treatment with Xeloda or the participation in a clinical trial further evaluating Xeloda or other novel therapeutic approaches. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov) and www.cancerconsultants.com.
Reference: Wardley A, Anton-Torres A, Pivot X, et al. Trastuzumab plus docetaxel with or without capecitabine in patients with HER2-positive advanced/metastatic breast cancer: Primary efficacy results from a randomized phase II study (CHAT). Presented as a late-breaking abstract (LBA6) at the 2006 meeting of the European society of Medical Oncology.
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