Two studies published recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed promising response rates for docetaxel(Drug information on docetaxel) (Taxotere)-based therapy over existing therapies for several types of cancer.
Early Use in Breast Cancer
The results of a study (J Clin Oncol 20:1456-1466, 2002) support the addition of docetaxel to neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. The study in women with large (³ 3 cm) or locally advanced breast cancer showed that those who received docetaxel following anthracycline-based chemotherapy achieved a better tumor response rate than did those given the anthracycline-based regimen alone. Treatment with an anthracycline-based regimen is currently the standard of care in the neoadjuvant setting.
The study, conducted at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, found that patients who responded to four cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy with the anthracycline-based regimen CVAP (cyclophosphamide [Cytoxan, Neosar], vincristine, doxorubicin(Drug information on doxorubicin) [Adriamycin], prednisolone(Drug information on prednisolone)), followed by four cycles of docetaxel, experienced a higher clinical response rate (94% vs 66%) and a higher complete pathologic response rate (34% vs 16%) than patients given four additional cycles of the anthracycline regimen.
"In localized breast cancer, the goal of chemotherapy given prior to surgery is to reduce the size of the tumor, thus increasing the likelihood of breast conservation and improving survival," said Steven Heys, professor of surgical oncology and nutritional oncology, University of Aberdeen. "In this study, patients given docetaxel in addition to an anthracycline-based chemotherapy experienced a better response rate in terms of tumor reduction, which suggests that patients given docetaxel are less likely to have to undergo mastectomy following completion of the chemotherapy. These results strongly support the addition of docetaxel to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer."
Survival Benefit Demonstrated
Additional data from this study were presented at the 24th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. According to data presented there, patients who received the neoadjuvant docetaxel-containing regimen lived significantly longer than patients who did not receive docetaxel. Patients in the CVAP/docetaxel arm achieved a 97% 3-year survival rate, compared to 84% in patients in the CVAP/CVAP arm. In addition, the disease-free survival rate at 3 years was 90% in the docetaxel arm, compared with 77% in patients who did not receive docetaxel.