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High-Dose Chemo Improves Breast Cancer Survival

Four-year survival ranks better than conventional chemo regimen

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A rapidly cycled tandem high-dose chemotherapy regimen following conventional chemotherapy may improve the four-year survival of breast cancer patients, according to a report in the Dec. 3 issue of The Lancet.

Ulrike Anneliese Nitz, M.D., from the University Hospital Dusseldorf, Germany, and colleagues randomly assigned 403 breast cancer patients with at least nine positive nodes to either a high-dose regimen including two standard-dose courses followed by two high-dose courses of epirubicin and cyclophosphamide, or a conventional regimen of the drugs with adjuvant therapy.

The authors found the four-year event-free survival rate of the 201 patients assigned to the high-dose regimen was 60%, significantly higher than the 44% rate for patients assigned conventional chemotherapy. The overall survival rate for the two groups was 75% and 70%, respectively.

According to Nitz and colleagues, previous studies did not find any benefit of high-dose chemotherapy, however, these were varied in their design. "Nevertheless, the superiority of high-dose chemotherapy in our trial suggests that this strategy remains valid for further investigation," they write.

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