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Anemia from Chemo Tied to Cancer Recurrence

Ivanhoe Newswire

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new study finds a connection between developing anemia during chemotherapy and the recurrence of breast cancer. Study authors say patients who have chemotherapy-induced anemia have nearly three times the risk of local recurrence as those who did not have anemia.

We speculate that there may be an interaction between chemotherapy/radiotherapy and anemia, says lead researcher Peter Dubsky, M.D., a senior consultant in the department of surgery at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Both treatment modalities have been shown to be less effective in anemic patients. Since we do not see the effect in terms of relapse-free survival, the interaction with local adjuvant treatment may play a more important role.

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The study included data on 424 patients who received standard CMF chemotherapy. Researchers looked at rates of anemia, local relapse-free survival, relapse-free survival and overall survival. They found after more than five years, 39 local relapses occurred including in seven percent of patients without anemia and 20 percent in patients with anemia. The five year relapse rates were eight percent in non-anemic patients and 20 percent in anemic patients. Those without anemia also had a longer time without a recurrence than those with anemia. No difference in overall survival was seen, but researchers say they expected that given the length of the study.

Study authors say the recurrence was limited to local recurrence but they say any explanation at this point is pure speculation.

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SOURCE: Clinical Cancer Research, published online April 1, 2008

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Last updated 4/7/2008

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Jul 25, 2008
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