Reviewers: Li Liu, MD
Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 17, Issue 5 (May), 1999: 1413-1424
It is clear that chemotherapy provides clinical benefit to many women with metastatic breast cancer (J Clin Oncol. 1996 Aug;14(8):2197-205). However, metastatic breast cancer remains essentially incurable and almost all women with such dignosis will eventually die from their disease. Anthracycline-based combination chemotherapy has been the standard first-line chemotherapy for patients with metastatic breast cancer. Recently, several new drugs have demonstrated promising anti-tumor activity against breast cancer. In this randomized phase III study, the researchers compared docetaxel with mitomycin plus vinblastine (MV) in patients with metastatic breast cancer.
A total of 392 patients with metastatic breast cancer previously treated with anthracycline-based chemotherapy were included. Of them, 203 were randomized to treatment with docetaxel of 100mg/m2 every 3 weeks and 189 patients to the mitomycin 12 mg/m2 every 6 weeks plus vinblastine 6 mg/m2 every 3 weeks for a maximum of 10 cycles.
This study showed the superiority of docetaxel over mytomycin plus vinblastine in terms of response rate, time to progression, and overall survival in patients with metastatic breast cancer previously treated with anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Because the goal of treatment is to improve the quality of life of patients, any comparison of survival between these palliative chemotherapy regimens should be adjusted for patient quality of life during the treatment period.