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Clin Breast Cancer. 2002 Dec;3(5):326-32.

Adjuvant use of taxanes for patients with breast cancer: we see the tip of the iceberg.

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Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Advances in screening techniques for breast cancer have led to the diagnosis of more patients at earlier disease stages at which time the possibility of a cure is more likely. Adjuvant chemotherapy with anthracycline-based regimens has proven to reduce the risk of relapse and cancer-related death in women with early-stage breast cancer. Recent studies have aimed at integrating the taxanes, paclitaxel and docetaxel, into the adjuvant setting, but to date, we are still in the earliest stages of the study of patients with operable breast cancer. Adjuvant trials now require thousands of patients and many years to reach maturity. Many of the trials began in the late 1990s and are not yet mature. For node-positive patients, the available evidence supports the use of taxanes as adjuvant treatment since they are safe and appear to provide benefit. Going forward, docetaxel holds significant promise in the adjuvant setting, and further trials as well as further follow-up of existing trials are eagerly awaited to help us determine whether docetaxel is best given sequentially to, or concurrently with, doxorubicin or epirubicin.

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