Adding Carboplatin to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Improves Response Rates
Date of presentation: June 3, 2013
For women with early, triple-negative breast cancer, adding carboplatin to neoadjuvant (before-surgery) chemotherapy increases the likelihood of a complete response to treatment, but also increases side effects. These results were presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy refers to chemotherapy that is given prior to surgery. This approach can make surgery easier to perform by shrinking or eliminating cancer prior to surgery. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy also provides information about how the cancer responds to chemotherapy. Women who have a complete response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (a complete elimination of detectable cancer) tend to have better outcomes than women who do not have a complete response.
Carboplatin is a chemotherapy drug that is commonly used in the treatment of ovarian, lung, and other types of cancer. To evaluate the addition of carboplatin to neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, researchers conducted a Phase II clinical trial among 595 women with either triple-negative or HER2-positive breast cancer.
For the women with triple-negative breast cancer, neoadjuvant chemotherapy consisted of paclitaxel, nonpegylated liposomal doxorubicin, and bevacizumab, with or without carboplatin. The women with HER2-positive breast cancer received HER2-targeted drugs instead of bevacizumab.
These results suggest that adding carboplatin to neoadjuvant chemotherapy increases the complete response rate among women with triple-negative breast cancer, but also increases side effects and treatment discontinuation. The role of carboplatin in the neoadjuvant treatment of triple-negative breast cancer is still uncertain.
- The addition of carboplatin did not improve response rates among the women with HER2-positive breast cancer.
- Among women with triple-negative breast cancer, the addition of carboplatin significantly improved the complete response rate. A complete response occurred in 38% of the women who did not receive carboplatin and 59% of the women who did receive carboplatin.
- The addition of carboplatin increased side effects such as low blood cell counts, and treatment discontinuation was more common among women who received carboplatin than among women who did not receive carboplatin.
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