Chemotherapy Plus Tamoxifen Aids Breast Cancer Patients

Study found higher survival rate for women on the dual therapy

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TUESDAY, April 3, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Women with early stage breast cancer have higher survival rates when they're treated with both chemotherapy and tamoxifen rather than with tamoxifen alone, a new study found.

But a second study found that a combination of tamoxifen and ovarian-suppression treatment to stop the ovaries from functioning provided no extra benefits for patients.

The studies included 3,854 early stage breast cancer patients who'd been treated with tamoxifen for five years. In the first study of 1,991 patients, half received chemotherapy, while the remainder did not. Some also had ovarian suppression. In the second study of 2,144 premenopausal patients, half of the women received ovarian suppression, while the remainder did not.

The first study found that the women who received chemotherapy showed a modest but sustained improvement in both relapse-free and overall survival. This was especially true in women younger than age 50 and in those who did not have ovarian suppression.

The second study found that women who had ovarian suppression did not show any improvements in relapse-free or overall survival.

The international studies were published in the April 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and were conducted by the Adjuvant Breast Cancer Trials Collaborative Group.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about breast cancer treatment.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, April 3, 2007

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