WEDNESDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- A chemotherapy regimen already proven superior to other regimens for breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes may also work better for some women whose cancers haven't spread, a new study has found.
When it came to these "node-negative" cancers, the drug combination of docetaxel, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (dubbed TAC) outperformed the combination of fluorouracil, doxorubicin, and cyclophosphamide (FAC), the Spanish study authors said.
The TAC regimen was better at keeping women alive and disease-free after a median follow up of almost six and a half years, the study found.
''For those women with higher-risk, node-negative breast cancer, in which chemotherapy is indicated, TAC is one of the most interesting options," said study co-author Dr. Miguel Martin, a professor of medical oncology at the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon in Madrid.
The study was funded by the drug maker Sanofi-Aventis -- which makes Taxotere, the brand name for docetaxel -- and GEICAM, the Spanish Breast Cancer Research Group. The results are published in the Dec. 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
To determine which women with breast cancer would benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy (typically chemotherapy after surgery), doctors take into account a number of risk factors, such as the patient's age, tumor size and other characteristics.
For the new study, the researchers assigned 1,060 women with breast cancers that were axillary-node negative who had at least one high-risk factor for recurrence to one of the two treatment regimens every three weeks for six cycles after their surgery.
At the 77-month mark, almost 88 percent of the TAC women were alive and disease-free, compared to close to 82 percent of the women in the FAC group. Those in the TAC group had a 32 percent reduction in the risk of
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