FDA approves Taxol to treat early-stage breast cancer
Drug improves a patient's prognosis from good to "great"
October 27, 1999
Web posted at: 12:09 p.m. EDT (1609 GMT)
From Medical Correspondent Rhonda Rowland
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the
anti-cancer drug Taxol for the treatment of early stage breast cancer, after clinical studies showed it helped prevent relapses of the disease and significantly boosted survival rates.
Before the FDA action Tuesday night, Taxol already had been approved for
the treatment of metastatic or advanced breast cancer as well as lung cancer
and ovarian cancer.
Studies following women for 30 months have shown when Taxol is combined with
surgery to remove the tumor and standard chemotherapy, there was a 26 percent
reduction in death and at 22 percent reduction in disease recurrence.
Scientists say Taxol is the first drug in 20 years to improve the odds for early stage
"It's a very exciting time that we have a treatment that is so effective
that we're thinking of using it even in good prognosis patients to take 'good'
prognosis and make 'great' prognosis," said Dr. Larry Norton, Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Taxol regimen easier on patients
Studies show the Taxol-surgery-chemotherapy regimen is easier to tolerate
than chemotherapy and surgery alone.
Specifically, the new treatment regimen is approved for women who have
early stage node-positive breast cancer, that is breast cancer that has spread
to the lymph nodes but no further. It's estimated this includes up to
40 percent of women with newly diagnosed breast cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 175,000 new cases
of breast cancer diagnosed this year in the United States.
Taxol, which was originally isolated from the Pacific Yew Tree is produced by
Bristol Myers Squibb.
High-dose chemotherapy may increase breast cancer survival
May 28, 1999
New developments in fight against breast cancer
May 27, 1999
Studies show riskier breast cancer treatment no better than standard chemo
April 15, 1999
New drugs help women fight breast cancer
May 18, 1998
Bristol Myers Squibb
Food and Drug Administration
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Cancer Treatment Research Foundation
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