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Abraxane Beats Standard Breast Cancer Treatment

Study Shows Abraxane Works Better Than Standard Chemotherapy for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Abraxane vs. Breast Cancer continued...

They women were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups. Three groups were administered Abraxane, given one of three ways: every three weeks, weekly at a lower dose for three weeks with the fourth week off, or weekly at a higher dose for three weeks with the fourth week off. The fourth group was given Taxotere at the standard dose every three weeks.

Results showed that Abraxane worked best when given weekly, at either dose, with the fourth week off.

Women in all three Abraxane groups suffered less fatigue and were less likely to have dangerous drops in their white blood cell counts than those on Taxotere.

The bottom line: The weekly schedule is the way to go, the experts agree.

"The weekly schedule of Abraxane has more antitumor effects and is better tolerated than Taxotere. There is also evidence that Abraxane is able to deliver the chemotherapy drug more effectively to the tumor," Gradishar says.

A larger, longer study comparing the same drugs is planned.

The study was supported by Abraxis BioScience, which manufactures Abraxane. Gradishar is a member of the advisory boards for Abraxis and Sanofi-Aventis U.S., which manufactures Taxotere.

At the ASCO meeting, another study showed that a one-two punch with Abraxane and the targeted cancer drug Avastin is safe and packs a strong punch against metastatic breast cancer.

Again, the drugs seemed to work best when given weekly for three weeks, with the fourth week off.

"It's important to have safety data, and this shows the combination is very well tolerated," Litton says.

Other research has suggested that the Abraxane-Avastin combo may be more effective than Abraxane alone, but further study is needed to confirm that and flesh out the best way to give the drugs, she says.

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