Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Effect of Chemotherapy Scheduling on Quality of Life in Advanced Breast Cancer

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Continuous chemotherapy seems to improve survival while also maintaining quality of life in patients with advanced HER2-negative breast cancer when compared with intermittent scheduling, according to research presented at the 2019 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Breast Cancer Annual Congress (Abstract 159P_PR) in Berlin. Anouk Claessens, MD, of Zuyderland Medical Center–Sittard-Geleen, Netherlands, and colleagues had hypothesized that incorporating treatment holidays into scheduling would benefit quality of life.

“We were a little surprised at the findings running contrary to our hypothesis. In explaining therapy schedules to patients, we tend to suggest that a ‘holiday,’ by nature of the word, might be beneficial, but this was not the case,” stated co-investigator Monique Bos, MD, PhD, of Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands, in an ESMO press release.

This analysis of the phase III Stop&Go trial included 398 patients with advanced HER2-negative breast cancer who were assigned to either 2 sets of 4 intermittent cycles or 8 continuous cycles of first- and second-line chemotherapies. The investigators observed a linear decline in physical quality-of-life scores in the intermittent arm, causing a clinically meaningful difference of 5.68 points at 24 months (P < .001). Scores in the continuous arm stabilized after a decline of ± 3.5 points at 12 months. Although the difference between treatment arms was not statistically significant, “there was a trend for more favorable scores in the continuous arm,” reported Dr. Claessans. Mental quality of life improved by 1.86 (P = .012) and 2.53 points (P = .001) at 12 months for intermittent and continuous treatments, respectively.

“Based on our findings, you could hypothesize that the benefits of a continuous approach might be independent of the investigated treatment line and might apply to other lines of treatment as well,” concluded Dr. Claessans.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at ESMO Breast Conference Calendar.

By continuing to browse this site you permit us and our partners to place identification cookies on your browser and agree to our use of cookies to identify you for marketing. Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.