SABCS 2017: Increasing the Dose Intensity of Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer
Increasing the dose intensity of chemotherapy—by either shortening the intervals between the cycles or by sequentially administering treatment instead of concurrently giving the drugs—reduced the risk of early-stage breast cancer recurrence and death compared with standard chemotherapy regimens, according to data from a study presented by Richard Gray, MSc, Professor of Medical Statistics in the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, and colleagues at the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS; Abstract GS1-01).
Dr. Gray and his team used individual patient data from 7 randomized trials with 10,004 women that tested chemotherapy given every 2 weeks versus every 3 weeks and from 9 randomized trials with 11,533 women that tested sequential versus concurrent anthracycline and taxane-based chemotherapies. Patients who received chemotherapy every 2 weeks were 17% and 15% less likely to have disease recurrence and die of breast cancer within 10 years, respectively, compared with those who received treatment every 3 weeks. Similarly, patients who received sequential chemotherapy were 14% and 13% less likely to have disease recurrence and die of breast cancer within 10 years, respectively, compared with those who received concurrent treatment.
The researchers noted a few additional side effects with the dose-intense schedule compared with the standard schedule. Of note, the chemotherapy used in the trials varied in the doses, the number of treatment cycles, and the agents used. Thus, although dose-intense chemotherapy may be more effective at eradicating cancers, it is difficult to recommend a particular dose-intense chemotherapy regimen based on this study, Dr. Gray concluded.