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Two Drugs Boost Endometrial Cancer Survival

Doxorubicin and cisplatin after surgery help fight advanced disease, study found

TUESDAY, Dec. 6, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- The use of two drugs, doxorubicin and cisplatin, given after surgery, may help women battling advanced endometrial cancer, new research finds.

The nine-year study of nearly 400 women with advanced malignancy was led by Dr. Marcus Randall of East Carolina University, in Greenville, N.C. His team found this treatment approach cut the risk of recurrence by 29 percent and extended survival by 32 percent, compared to standard treatment with whole abdominal irradiation.

"This study represents a major advance in the treatment of advanced endometrial cancer," Dr. Gini F. Fleming, director of the medical oncology gynecologic and breast cancer programs at the University of Chicago, wrote in an accompanying editorial in the Dec. 5 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

After five years, 50 percent of the women who received chemotherapy were cancer-free and 55 percent were still alive, the researchers note. Among the women who received the radiation therapy, 38 percent were cancer-free and 42 percent were alive after five years.

However, serious side effects were more common among the women who received chemotherapy, the authors noted. These problems included reduced blood cell counts, and trouble with the digestive and nervous systems, liver and heart.

The team also noted that treatment-related deaths were twice as common in the chemotherapy group -- 4 percent vs. 2 percent in the radiation group.

"Future trials need to address treatment of earlier-stage disease, optimization of chemotherapy regimen, integration of radiotherapy, and application of newer targeted agents," Fleming wrote.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about endometrial cancer.

SOURCE: American Society of Clinical Oncology, news release, Dec. 5, 2005
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