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Combination Breast Cancer Treatment May Improve Survival

Prolongs progression-free but not overall survival

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Paclitaxel plus bevacizumab increases progression-free survival but not overall survival compared with paclitaxel alone in patients with metastatic breast cancer, researchers report in the Dec. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Kathy Miller, M.D., from Indiana University Cancer Center in Indianapolis, and colleagues randomly assigned 722 patients with metastatic breast cancer to paclitaxel either alone or combined with bevacizumab.

The researchers found that patients receiving combination treatment had significantly longer median progression-free survival (11.8 versus 5.9 months) and a significantly higher objective response rate (36.9 versus 21.2 percent). However, the overall survival rate was similar in the two groups, and patients receiving combination treatment had a significantly higher risk of adverse events, such as hypertension, cerebrovascular ischemia and infection.

"Initial therapy of metastatic breast cancer with paclitaxel plus bevacizumab prolongs progression-free survival, but not overall survival, as compared with paclitaxel alone," Miller and colleagues conclude.

The study was partially funded by Genentech.

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