A new clinical trial has shown that reducing the interval between successive doses of a commonly used chemotherapy regimen improves survival in women whose breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. While previous research has evaluated the use of various forms of "dose dense" chemotherapy, this is the first major controlled study to show a clear survival benefit. The study was conducted by Cancer and Leukemia Group B for the Breast Cancer Intergroup, a consortium of National Cancer Institute-sponsored Cooperative Clinical Trials Groups. The researchers found that two dose dense regimens provided significantly higher disease-free survival rates than two using conventional dosing, according to NCI oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Abrams.
"Although these trial results are early, and need further follow-up, it is very encouraging that we did see an improvement in survival with no increase in side-effects. This is an encouraging finding, and if confirmed by others and longer follow-up of the study, I suspect that this will become the new standard way to approach chemotherapy."
This is Kelly Persinger, the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.