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Chemotherapy-induced anemia and risk of breast cancer recurrence.

Patients with breast cancer who developed anemia during chemotherapy had nearly three times the risk of local recurrence as those who did not, according to a study in the April 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

Peter Dubsky, MD, and his colleagues from the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group examined data from a randomized clinical trial comparing adjuvant hormonal treatment and tamoxifen with the standard treatment of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil (CMF). All women in the trial were premenopausal and had positive estrogen and/or progesterone receptor status. Patients who underwent breast-conserving surgery received mandatory radiation. Radiation was optional in women who underwent modified radical mastectomy.

The researchers focused on anemia data from the 424 patients in the CMF group, as the rates of anemia among those who received the hormonal treatment were low. They examined local relapse-free survival, relapse-free survival and overall survival.

In addition to the absence of anemia, other factors that significantly increased local relapse-free survival were younger age at diagnosis and negative lymph node status. Any relationship between anemia and tumor size, postoperative radiation or type of surgery did not have an effect on local relapse-free survival, the researchers said.

No difference in overall survival was evident, but the research team did not expect one; follow-up of 10 to 15 years would be needed to observe any significant differences, they said. For more information, visit

Source: American Association for Cancer Research

This edition of Health was prepared by Meghan Washington.
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Title Annotation:health
Author:Washington, Meghan
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2008
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