Data from the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG)-24 study presented at the joint 15th ECCO and 34th ESMO congress in Berlin, show that adding capecitabine(Drug information on capecitabine) (Xeloda) to anthracycline- and taxane-containing regimens prior to surgery completely eradicated the tumor in 24% of women with HER2-positive or HER2-negative early breast cancer. This is an impressive finding since the proportion of women achieving total tumor eradication with standard chemotherapy for HER2-positive or HER2-negative early breast cancer is less than 20% (range = 6%–18%).
“These new data show that adding capecitabine to epirubicin(Drug information on epirubicin) and docetaxel(Drug information on docetaxel) [Taxotere] neoadjuvant regimens when treating women with early breast cancer, results in increased efficacy compared to epirubicin and docetaxel alone. This new data could lead to improvements in treatment for women with early stages of the disease, as the increased efficacy may result in prolonged overall survival,” said Prof. Günther Steger, division of oncology, department of internal medicine, Medical University of Vienna, General Hospital Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Despite recent advances, there is still an unmet need in the treatment and management of early breast cancer, with relapse occurring in approximately 30% to 50% of patients, depending on individual risk factors, even after chemotherapy. In addition to the ABCSG-24 study, several other studies of neoadjuvant combination regimens that included capecitabine have shown positive efficacy results. The therapeutic success in these studies was measured as complete pathologic response, which is a strong predictor for long-term survival.