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J Clin Oncol. 2003 Oct 1;21(19):3659-64.

Quality of life in women with breast cancer during the first year after random assignment to adjuvant treatment with marrow-supported high-dose chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, thiotepa, and carboplatin or tailored therapy with Fluorouracil, epirubicin, and cyclophosphamide: Scandinavian Breast Group Study 9401.

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  • 1Department of Oncology, Karolinska Hospital, S-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.



To compare, in high-risk breast cancer patients, the effects on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of two adjuvant treatments. Treatments were compared at eight points during the first year after random assignment to treatment with tailored fluorouracil, epirubicin, and cyclophosphamide (FEC) therapy for nine courses versus induction FEC therapy for three courses followed by high-dose chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, thiotepa, and carboplatin (CTCb) supported by peripheral-blood stem cells.


From March 1994 to March 1998, 525 breast cancer patients (estimated relapse risk > 70% within 5 years with standard therapy) were included in the Scandinavian Breast Group 9401 study. HRQoL evaluation, using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ)-C30 and EORTC Breast Cancer Module-23, included 408 of 446 eligible patients in Finland, Norway, and Sweden.


Eighty-four percent to 95% of the patients completed questionnaires at eight points of assessment. Nostatistically significant overall differences were found between the tailored FEC group and the CTCb group for any of the HRQoL variables. Statistically significant differences over time were found for all HRQoL variables. HRQoL in the CTCb group demonstrated a steeper decrease, but a faster recovery than in the tailored FEC group. Emotional functioning improved with increased time from randomization. Higher levels of problems in body image and arm symptoms were reported in the tailored FEC group compared with the CTCb group. Sexual functioning and satisfaction were impaired during the study period.


Both treatments had a negative influence on HRQoL during the treatment period. Despite the aggressive therapies, the patient's HRQoL returned to levels found at inclusion on most variables.

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