According to the results of a Phase III clinical trial published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, chemotherapy with Taxotere® (docetaxel) plus cyclophosphamide results in better cancer-free survival than chemotherapy with doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide in women with Stage I to Stage III breast cancer.
Early breast cancer refers to cancer that has not spread to distant sites in the body. However, in early breast cancer, there may be cancer spread to lymph nodes under the arm (axillary), referred to as node-positive breast cancer. Standard treatment for node-positive breast cancer typically includes the surgical removal of the cancer, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
The use of chemotherapy following surgery, referred to as adjuvant chemotherapy, is utilized to kill any cancer cells that may remain in the body following surgery. The optimal adjuvant chemotherapy regimen in node-positive breast cancer patients continues to be evaluated.
Doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide (referred to as the AC chemotherapy regimen) is a commonly used adjuvant chemotherapy regimen in breast cancer; however, the chemotherapy agent Taxotere has demonstrated promising results in the treatment of this disease. The combination of Taxotere with cyclophosphamide is referred to as the TC chemotherapy regimen.
To compare TC chemotherapy to AC chemotherapy in the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer, researchers conducted a Phase III clinical trial among more than 1,000 women with operable, Stage I to Stage III breast cancer. After surgery, half the women received four cycles of TC, and half the women received four cycles of AC. Radiation therapy and hormonal therapy (as indicated) were given after chemotherapy.
- Five-year cancer-free survival was 86% among women treated with TC and 80% among women treated with AC.
- Overall survival was 90% among women treated with TC and 87% among women treated with AC.
- Nausea and vomiting were more common among women treated with AC. Muscle and joint pain, edema, and low white blood cell counts accompanied by fever were more common among patients treated with TC.
The researchers conclude that TC chemotherapy results in better cancer-free survival than AC chemotherapy in the adjuvant (post-surgery) treatment of breast cancer. The two chemotherapy regimens produce different side effects.
Reference: Jones SE, Savin MA, Holmes FA et al. Phase III Trial Comparin Doxorubicin Plus Cyclophosphamide with Doxetaxel Plus Cyclophosphamide as Adjuvant Therapy for Operable Breast Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2006;24:5381-5387.