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New metronomic therapy: a promising approach for the treatment of advanced breast cancer

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New metronomic therapy: a promising approach for the treatment of advanced breast cancer

A new light of hope has been lit for advanced breast cancer patients thanks to metronomic therapy.

The results of the METEORA-II academic study, coordinated by the European Institute of Oncology under the aegis of the IBCSG (International Breast Cancer Study Group), recently published in the scientific journal Jama Oncology, confirm that this new treatment modality could be more effective and less toxic than traditional chemotherapy.

The study, which involved patients with ER+/ERB2 metastatic cancer from 15 Italian cancer centres, lasted from September 2017 to January 2021. The patients were divided into two groups: one followed metronomic therapy with the VEX scheme (Vinorelbine, Cyclophosphamide, and Capecitabine), while the other received traditional chemotherapy with intravenous paclitaxel.

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According to Dr. Elisabetta Munzone, oncologist of the IEO Medical Breast Division and first signatory of the study, “The therapy with the VEX scheme has proven to be superior to standard chemotherapy in terms of efficacy and some side effects.

For example, it does not cause hair loss.” Munzone went on to explain that failure-free treatment time (TTF) was on average significantly longer with VEX than with paclitaxel, with values ​​of 8.3 months and 5.7 months, respectively.

At 12 months, the proportion of patients who continued to benefit from treatment was 34.3% in the VEX group and 8.6% in the paclitaxel group.

Additionally, progression-free survival (PFS) was significantly longer with VEX, at 11.1 months compared with 6.9 months in the paclitaxel group.

In summary, metronomic therapy appears to offer better control of the disease, slowing down the progression time by about 4 months and reducing the risk of having to interrupt the therapy due to side effects. This advantage translates into a better quality of life for patients, who not only keep their hair, but also avoid frequent visits to the hospital for high dose infusions of drugs.

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Dr. Marco Colleoni, Director of the Medical Breast Division and Co-Chair of the Scientific Committee of the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG), underlined the importance of the metronomic approach, based on the continuous low-dose administration of drugs. He said this approach has been studied for over 25 years at the IEO and is based on tailoring treatment to each patient’s individual characteristics.

The METEORA trial has introduced a promising treatment option for breast cancer patients requiring chemotherapy. Metronomic therapy with the VEX regimen offers more durable disease control than intravenous chemotherapy with weekly paclitaxel. Furthermore, this home therapy reduces the number of hospital visits and preserves the patients’ hair, representing a step forward in the fight against advanced breast cancer.

NurseTimes editorial team

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