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Home Industry News Switching drugs boosts breast cancer treatment

Switching drugs boosts breast cancer treatment

1st June 2009

New research suggests changing the order in which breast cancer drugs are given can have significant benefits for women with large tumours.

A paper presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s conference on Sunday compared the results of medications administered to two sets of patients requiring chemotherapy and surgery.

One group had the traditional treatment where the drug Taxol is given in the first round, followed by epirubicin and cyclophosphamide in the second.

For the other group, the order of medication given to patients was reversed. This resulted in a 33 per cent increase in responsiveness to treatment, according to researchers.

Commenting on the findings, the trial’s chief investigator Dr Helena Earl said: “Having chemotherapy before surgery is important for women who have larger tumours, which often means they have a more aggressive form of the disease.

“For many women, shrinking the tumour before it is removed could be the difference between having a mastectomy and saving the breast with a small amount of surgery.”

She added patients could see big advantages from changes to the order in which drugs are administered and further breakthroughs could result through the use of new breast cancer drugs.

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