Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Benefit of chemotherapy in breast cancer depends on estrogen-receptor status

12.04.2006


When it comes to chemotherapy treatment for women whose breast cancer has spread to their lymph nodes, the estrogen status of their tumors matters, says a team of researchers in the April 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.



Analyzing data from three clinical trials with a total of 6,644 patients, they determined that chemotherapy works much better in breast cancer that is estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) than many people think, and conversely, doesn’t work as well in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) cancer as believed, says the study’s lead author Donald Berry, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Applied Mathematics at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

This conclusion will come as a surprise to many oncologists, Berry says. Women with "node-positive" breast cancer routinely are given chemotherapy, regardless of their tumor type. Women who have ER+ tumors are also given tamoxifen, a drug which inhibits estrogen use by the cancer cells.


"Our analysis shows that tamoxifen works very well for a number of years and taken as a group, there is little or no benefit of even the cumulative effects of modern improvements in chemotherapy for women with ER+ tumors," he says.

"All in all, this is good news because it shows that the benefit of chemotherapy for ER- tumors is surprisingly dramatic in the same way that tamoxifen’s effect is substantial for ER+ tumors," Berry says.

The research team, which includes investigators from top cancer centers nationwide, studied outcomes from three large randomized clinical trials which tested the optimal use of chemotherapy in node-positive breast cancer. But none of these trials, all of which were conducted by the Cancer and Leukemia Group B and the U.S. Breast Intergroup, considered estrogen status or whether women had received tamoxifen, largely because the diagnostic importance of estrogen status for chemotherapy was not recognized at the time the trials were designed, Berry says.

Accumulated evidence indicates, however, that improvements in chemotherapy disproportionately benefit women with ER- tumors, Berry says; so the research team decided to statistically model the relative contribution of chemotherapy treatment given estrogen receptor status.

They found the absolute benefits due to chemotherapy were greater for patients with ER- tumors compared to those with ER+ tumors. Specifically, 22.8 percent more ER- patients were disease-free after five years if they received chemotherapy versus 7 percent of ER+ patients. The corresponding improvements for overall survival were 16.7 percent versus 4 percent.

The researchers also compared the different chemotherapy regimens tested in the trials, and found the latest chemotherapy combination studied - biweekly doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide plus paclitaxel - lowered the rate of recurrence and death in ER- patients by more than 50 percent, compared to the low-dose regimen used in the first study.

"This tells us that breast oncology has made enormous strides in treating patients with ER- tumors, a finding which contradicts the prevailing wisdom that with the development of tamoxifen and newer selective estrogen receptor modulator drugs, the benefits of medical science have been primarily focused on ER+ tumors," Berry says.

"It is true that tamoxifen changed the landscape for ER+ tumors, but the playing field has now been leveled somewhat given the fact that ER- tumors respond well to modern improvements in chemotherapy regimens," he says.

Nancy Jensen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mdanderson.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New 3-D imaging reveals how human cell nucleus organizes DNA and chromatin of its genome
28.07.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period
27.07.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Abrupt motion sharpens x-ray pulses

Spectrally narrow x-ray pulses may be “sharpened” by purely mechanical means. This sounds surprisingly, but a team of theoretical and experimental physicists developed and realized such a method. It is based on fast motions, precisely synchronized with the pulses, of a target interacting with the x-ray light. Thereby, photons are redistributed within the x-ray pulse to the desired spectral region.

A team of theoretical physicists from the MPI for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg has developed a novel method to intensify the spectrally broad x-ray...

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New 3-D imaging reveals how human cell nucleus organizes DNA and chromatin of its genome

28.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heavy metals in water meet their match

28.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Oestrogen regulates pathological changes of bones via bone lining cells

28.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>