Tuesday, December 06, 2005

High-Dose Therapy with Stem Cell Transplant May Improve Survival More than Dose-Dense Therapy in Stage III Breast Cancer

Nitz UA, et al. Comparison of rapidly cycled tandem high-dose chemotherapy plus peripheral-blood-stem-cell support versus dose-dense conventional chemotherapy for adjuvant treatment of high-risk breast cancer: results of a multicentre phase III trial. Lancet. 2005;366:1935-1944.
High-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation appears to improve outcomes over conventional therapy in stage III breast cancer. In an effort to reduce the chance of recurrence, researchers have been evaluating the use of high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation in women with breast cancer. This kills more cancer cells but also results in more side effects. One particular side effect is damage to immature blood cells that are produced in the bone marrow that mature into red blood cells, white blood cells , and platelets. To restore the stem cells that are depleted by high-dose chemotherapy, patients may undergo a type of stem cell transplant where the patient’s own stem cells from prior to chemotherapy are reinfused after chemotherapy. The researchers concluded that high-dose chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplant may improve survival in patients with stage III breast cancer.

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