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