Have Changes in Systemic Treatment Improved Survival in Patients with Breast Cancer Metastatic to the Brain?
Newly developed systemic treatment regimens might lead to improved survival also in the subgroup of breast cancer patients that harbour brain metastases. In order to examine this hypothesis, a matched pairs analysis was performed that involved one group of patients, which were treated after these new drugs were introduced, and one group of patients, which were treated approximately 10 years earlier. The two groups were well balanced for the known prognostic factors age, KPS, extracranial disease status, and recursive partitioning analysis class, as well as for the extent of brain treatment. The results show that the use of systemic chemotherapy has increased over time, both before and after the diagnosis of brain metastases. However, such treatment was performed nearly exclusively in those patients with brain metastases that belonged to the prognostically more favourable groups. Survival after whole-brain radiotherapy has remained unchanged in patients without further active treatment. It has improved in prognostically better patients and especially patients that received active treatment, where the 1-year survival rates have almost doubled. As these patient groups were small, confirmation of the results in other series should be attempted. Nevertheless, the present results are compatible with the hypothesis that improved systemic therapy might contribute to prolonged survival in patients with brain metastases from breast cancer.
PublisherHindawi Publishing Corporation
CitationJournal of Oncology, vol. 2008, Article ID 417137, 5 pages, 2008. doi:10.1155/2008/417137
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