Older Breast Cancer Patients Benefit From Weekly Administration of Paclitaxel

July 1, 2001
Oncology, ONCOLOGY Vol 15 No 7, Volume 15, Issue 7

Weekly administration of the drug paclitaxel (Taxol) is as effective and well tolerated in advanced breast cancer patients over

Weekly administration of the drug paclitaxel(Taxol) is as effective and well tolerated inadvanced breast cancer patients over age 65 as it is in younger patients,according to a study presented by Edith Perez, MD, at the 37th annual meeting ofthe American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"Most new cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed inwomen over age 60," said Dr. Perez, director of cancer research andclinical trials at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. "Despite that fact,chemotherapy is often not offered as a treatment option because of perceptionsof increased toxicity or diminished benefit. This study shows older breastcancer patients treated with weekly paclitaxel benefit as much and toleratetreatment just as well as younger patients."

Response Rates and ToxicitiesSimilar Between Groups

According to the study, weekly administration of paclitaxelresulted in a 20% response rate in women over age 65 with metastatic breastcancer and a 22% response rate in those under age 65. The incidence of majortoxicities was similar in both groups. In the older group, 14% experiencedneutropenia and a reduction in white blood cells, and 13% experiencedneuropathy, nerve pain, and numbness in the extremities. In the younger group,15% experienced neutropenia and 8% experienced neuropathy.

Half of the patients over 65 and 37% of those under 65 achieveddisease stabilization. The average duration of response was 245 days in patientsover 65 and 285 days in patients under 65. Median time to disease progressionwas 214 days for older patients and 134 days for younger patients, with theaverage overall survival being 377 days in older patients and 424 days inyounger patients.