ROCHESTER, MINN. -- Mayo Clinic researchers report "encouraging" results with a new treatment for women with metastatic breast cancer. The researchers tested a combination of two drugs -- paclitaxel and carboplatin -- on 53 women. They reported a response rate (that is, evidence of tumor shrinkage) in 62 percent of the women and a projected one-year survival rate of 72 percent -- after follow-up ranging from 12 to 21 months.
Edith Perez, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., who led the multi-center study, said this is one of the highest response rates of any treatment for advanced breast cancer ever tested at Mayo Clinic.
She said this drug combination has been widely used in the treatment of ovarian and lung cancer but never before tried in breast cancer in the United States.
"It's too early to know the long-term success of this treatment," she says. "But these early results are encouraging enough to serve as the basis for a number of new initiatives with this drug combination, both at Mayo Clinic and elsewhere."
One of the advantages of the new treatment, according to Dr. Perez, is that it is compatible with prior treatment with anthracycline, a drug commonly given to many women in the past for recurrent breast cancer. "This new combination is an additional therapy that adds additional benefits for these women," she says. The report appeared in a recent issue of the journal Cancer.
About 185,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. About ten percent have metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis, and about 40-50 percent of the others eventually develop metastatic disease, according to Dr. Perez.
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