IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A University of Iowa Health Care treatment using high-dose chemotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant may be more effective in fighting advanced breast cancer than standard treatment approaches -- despite recent reports of conflicting results from similar strategies tested elsewhere.
In the just-released issue of the journal Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, UI researchers suggest that a four-drug, high-dose chemotherapy treatment along with a bone marrow transplant may improve survival for some women with stage IV breast cancer -- cancer that has spread beyond the breast.
"We have women who we treated with a bone marrow transplant up to 10 years ago who are still alive and free of cancer," said Roger Gingrich, M.D., Ph.D., UI professor of internal medicine and director of the Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Program at the UI Hospitals and Clinics. "We think it is very important for women with breast cancer to continue to carefully consider this treatment approach."
From May 1988 through May 1997, UI physicians treated 158 women with stage IV breast cancer using the four-drug, high-dose chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant strategy. Preliminary results indicate an overall survival rate of 38 percent.
At an American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting last week in Atlanta, researchers presented four studies that showed women with very risky or advanced breast cancer statistically did no better with the high-dose chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant treatment than those who received only low-dose chemotherapy. A fifth, relatively small study indicated that the high-dose chemotherapy/bone marrow transplant approach might work better. Each of the studies involved different drugs and doses.
In the two studies presented at the meeting that involved patients with
chemotherapy-responsive stage IV breast cancer, the projected survival rates
using the high-dose chemotherapy/transplant treatment were 32
Contact: Jennifer Cronin
University of Iowa