"The overall outcome of patients in this trial was excellent," Gnant said. "This is reassuring that patients with endocrine [hormone]-response disease, even in premenopause, can be safely treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. The benefit was seen in and outside the bone."
Although about 5 percent of participants had had chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor, none received later chemo. In Europe, breast cancer patients are commonly treated with endocrine therapy alone," said Dr. Joanne Mortimer, vice chairwoman of medical oncology at City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. In the United States, some, but not all, women in this group are treated without chemotherapy.
"This is not a trial about hormones instead of chemo. It's about Zometa," Mortimer said. "We know that this drug improves bone health, but there is also some evidence that it may actually have an effect on cancer cells, and the fact that this was seen in this population is very exciting."
The American Society of Clinical Oncology has more information on breast cancer.
SOURCES: Joanne Mortimer, vice chairwoman, medical oncology, City of Hope Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif.; May 31, 2008, news conference with Michael Gnant, M.D., professor, surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Austria; May 31, 2008, presentation, American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, Chicago
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