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Interruption of Menstrual Cycle by Chemotherapy Associated with Improved Survival in Early Breast Cancer
Date:6/3/2010

Study Also Shows Significant Benefit of Longer-term Adjuvant Chemotherapy Regimen

Pittsburgh, PA (Vocus) June 3, 2010 -- Chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea in premenopausal women being treated for early stage breast cancer was associated with significantly improved patient survival, according to a study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) in collaboration with leading US cancer centers and cooperative cancer research groups. The NSABP is led by oncologists from Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) in Pittsburgh. The study also showed that a sequential administration of chemotherapeutic drugs significantly improves survival in women with early breast cancer compared to delivering the drugs concurrently.

According to Charles Geyer, MD, an AGH breast medical oncologist and one of the study’s lead authors, the development of amenorrhea during and after adjuvant chemotherapy is associated with clinically important side effects and impacts on the quality of life in premenopausal women with early breast cancer. Chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea occurs in 40-90% of premenopausal breast cancer patients depending on their age and the type of chemotherapy regimen.

Estrogen promotes the growth of endocrine responsive breast cancers, which comprise approximately three quarters of breast cancers. Studies focusing on premenopausal women with endocrine responsive tumors have previously shown an association between chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea and improved outcomes.

Amenorrhea occurs because the chemotherapy suppresses ovarian function which results in substantial declines in estrogen levels. Some of the benefit of chemotherapy in premenopausal women is thought to be related to this form of endocrine therapy. Such findings have led to specific clinical trials in premenopausal women with endocr
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