"For the first time, adjuvant chemotherapy has been shown to extend survival in patients with advanced endometrial cancer," said Marcus E. Randall, MD, Director of the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. "These findings were surprising, given that previous studies showed that single chemotherapy agents do not have a significant impact on the disease."

Researchers from the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) compared the rate of recurrence and overall survival between 194 women with advanced endometrial cancer who received chemotherapy with the drugs doxorubicin and cisplatin over a period of five months and 202 women who received radiation therapy to the entire abdomen over a period of approximately 1.5 months. Patients were enrolled in the trial from 1992 until 2001. Researchers followed patients for a median of just over six years, and used a statistical model to estimate five-year recurrence and survival rates.

After five years, 50% of patients who received chemotherapy were estimated to be free of disease compared with 38% of those who received whole abdominal irradiation. Moreover, 55% of patients who received chemotherapy were estimated to be alive after five years, compared with 42% of patients in the radiation therapy group.

However, serious adverse side effects were more common in the chemotherapy group. The most common serious side effects included reduced blood cell counts and problems with the digestive and nervous systems, liver, and heart. Treatment-related deaths were also twice as common in the chemotherapy group (4%, vs. 2% of radiation patients).

MEDICA.de; Source: American Society of Clinical Oncology