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Weekly Doses of Taxol Prolonged Lives of Breast Cancer Patients
Date:4/16/2008

Finding should change standard of care, which is 4 doses every 3 weeks, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Women who take the drug Taxol weekly after receiving chemotherapy for 12 weeks live longer and live longer without a recurrence of their breast cancer, compared to women who take four taxol treatments every three weeks.

The study also evaluated another drug in the same family, called Taxotere (docetaxel), but found that weekly Taxol (paclitaxel) was more effective.

"The findings suggest that weekly Taxol for 12 weeks is more effective than four cycles of Taxol and should be considered a new standard," said study author Dr. Joseph A. Sparano. The findings are detailed in the April 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Prior to this study, four cycles of Taxol was considered the standard, although many oncologists were administering the drug weekly.

"We have been using Taxol weekly for at least a year," said Dr. Kumud Tripathy, a clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at Texas A & M Health Science Center College of Medicine and an oncologist with the Bryan-College Station Cancer Clinic.

Women with breast cancer who receive drugs known as taxanes after standard chemotherapy have a substantially reduced risk of recurrence and of death. The other taxane, Taxotere (docetaxel) is more potent than Taxol.

About a decade ago, a study showed that adding Taxol to standard chemo reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence. The drug was subsequently approved in the United States, with the standard of care being four doses once every three weeks.

A later study showed that giving the same dosage every two weeks was more effective than every three weeks, so that became common practice.

In the meantime, questions were raised as to whether taxanes were effective for the most common type of breast cancer, or that which is horm
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