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Dense-Dose Chemo of Little Benefit in Early Breast Cancer

No statistically significant improvement found in breast cancer recurrence-free survival

woman who had chemotherapy

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Tailored dose-dense chemotherapy offers little benefit over standard chemotherapy for women with high-risk early breast cancer, according to research published in the Nov. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers from The Swedish Breast Cancer Group, led by Jonas Bergh, M.D., of the Karolinska Institute and University Hospital in Stockholm, randomly assigned 2,017 women to either a standard chemotherapy group or a tailored dose-dense group. All of the participants had had surgery for node-positive or high-risk node-negative breast cancer.

After five years, 88.7 percent of the dose-dense group and 85.0 percent of the standard group were alive and had no recurrence of cancer. In addition, the researchers found that 86.7 percent of the dose-dense group had event-free survival at five years, compared with 82.1 percent of the standard group. Those in the dose-dense group reported worse quality of life on parameters like sexual functioning and side effects such as fatigue.

"Among women with high-risk early breast cancer, the use of tailored dose-dense chemotherapy compared with standard adjuvant chemotherapy did not result in a statistically significant improvement in breast cancer recurrence-free survival," the authors write. "Nonhematologic toxic effects were more frequent in the tailored dose-dense group."

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