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J Clin Oncol. 2002 Sep 1;20(17):3665-73.

Prospective exploratory analysis of the association between tumor response, quality of life, and expenditures among patients receiving paclitaxel monotherapy for refractory metastatic breast cancer.

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  • 1Breast Cancer Medicine Service, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.



To prospectively evaluate the association between tumor response, change in quality of life (QoL), and hospital expenditures in patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) receiving single-agent paclitaxel.


Eligible patients had bidimensionally measurable MBC and any number of previous therapies, excluding taxane chemotherapy. Paclitaxel was administered by various different infusion schedules. QoL measures were evaluated for each patient at baseline and serially using the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS)-Global Distress Index (GDI) and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B) instruments. Patients were assessed for early (first 6 weeks) and ever changes in QoL parameters. Charges were monitored through the hospital's centralized computer billing system and converted to cost ratios for the analysis. Correlations between response and improvement in QoL were assessed by Fisher's exact test statistic. Associations between improvements in QoL with cost ratios were assessed by logistic regression and likewise between response and cost ratios.


Of the 59 patients treated, 50 had sufficient data for comparative analyses. The overall response rate was 24% (all partial responses). Minor responses were observed in 17% of patients, 25% had stable disease, and 29% had progression. Responding patients had significant improvement in QoL as assessed by MSAS-GDI (P =.004) and FACT-B (P =.028). The mean total cost/month ratios for patients experiencing improved GDI QoL scores was 1.31 versus 1.56 for those without QoL benefit (P =.52) and 1.05 versus 1.76 for responders versus nonresponders, respectively (P =.07).


Patients with evidence of tumor response on paclitaxel had a QoL benefit not observed in nonresponders, and this response was associated with a trend for lower overall costs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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