Berlin, Germany: The first study to investigate the effects of chemotherapy on metastatic breast cancer in women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation has shown that standard chemotherapy works better in these patients than in women without the BRCA1/2 mutation.
The authors of a study presented today (Thursday) at the 6th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-6) in Berlin found that women with BRCA2-associated breast cancer had a significantly higher response rate, a longer time without the disease progressing, and a longer overall survival when treated with anthracycline-based regimens than did women with sporadic breast cancers that were not associated with BRCA1/2.
Women with BRCA1-associated breast cancer also did better than women with sporadic breast cancer, but the rates were not statistically significant.
Researchers at the Daniel den Hoed Cancer Centre/Erasmus Medical Centre (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) conducted the study. They matched 112 women with BRCA1-associated metastatic cancer and 29 women with BRCA2-associated metastatic cancer with 141 women with sporadic breast cancers. The women had been treated with anthracycline-based or taxane-based regimens, CMF (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and fluorouracil 5FU) or other chemotherapy regimens.
BRCA2 women had a higher response rate to chemotherapy (89% versus 50%), a longer progression-free survival (nearly a third better) and a longer overall survival (47% better) than did women with sporadic cancers. When the researchers looked more closely at the type of chemotherapy the women had received, they found that the improved progression-free survival mainly occurred in patients on anthracyclines and disappeared for those treated with CMF.
The lead author of the study, Dr Mieke Kriege, an epidemiologist and project researcher at the Rotterdam Family Cancer Clinic, said: It is difficult to make firm conclusions about response to different treatments from ou
|Contact: Emma Mason|
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation