Given the Choice, Women Prefer Endocrine Treatment With Zoladex(R) (goserelin) to Chemotherapy for the Treatment of Early Breast Cancer

    London, November 16 (ots/PRNewswire) - New research published today in the European Journal of Cancer (EJC) (1) indicates that an overwhelming 78 per cent of healthy premenopausal women would prefer goserelin ('Zoladex (TM)') therapy to chemotherapy if they were to develop oestrogen-receptor positive (ER+) early breast cancer, because of its superior side effect profile.

    Women in the study were asked to imagine that they had been diagnosed with early breast cancer and were provided with scenarios describing the administration and side-effects and impact on fertility of treatment with goserelin and treatment with standard chemotherapy (i) (CMF). The women were then asked a series of questions to determine which treatment they would choose and why. Of a total 200 women, aged between 25 and 49 years of age, 78 per cent favoured goserelin, 11 per cent chemotherapy and 11 per cent remained undecided.

    The study found that women viewed the side-effect profile of goserelin as more acceptable than standard chemotherapy. Most women questioned would prefer to avoid the side effects associated with chemotherapy, in particular hair loss. Retaining fertility was important for a subgroup of predominantly younger women who have not yet had or not completed their families.

    Professor Lesley Fallowfield, the study author and Director of Cancer Research UK's Psychosocial Oncology Group commented: "It is really important that women are given full information by their doctors and specialist nurses about the affect that different treatments may have physically, emotionally and practically before making any decisions about treatment options.

    We need to recognise that the side-effects of chemotherapy, especially hair loss, are potentially devastating to young women already coming to terms with a life-changing diagnosis of breast cancer."

    Researcher Rhona McGurk, who conducted most of the interviews said, "Over a third of women felt that goserelin would be more convenient and less disruptive to normal life than chemotherapy."

    Clinical trial data has shown the equivalent efficacy of goserelin therapy compared with CMF regimes.(2) However, despite clinical trial results and treatment guidelines from St Gallen and EUSOMA, premenopausal women with hormone-sensitive early breast cancer are rarely offered the choice of goserelin. These findings suggest that premenopausal women with hormone-sensitive, early breast cancer should be offered the choice of either adjuvant hormone therapy or adjuvant chemotherapy. Additionally, data from breast cancer patients shows that overall quality of life is significantly better with goserelin than with CMF during the first six months of therapy.(3)

    Professor Lesley Fallowfield added, "Despite long-term efficacy and tolerability data to support the use of goserelin in the treatment of premenopausal women with hormone-sensitive, early breast cancer and the different impacts that the treatments have on quality of life, many clinicians still do not even offer women the option of goserelin."

    Although breast cancer is more common in women who have gone through the menopause, hundreds of thousands of premenopausal women are diagnosed with early breast cancer at some point during their life. Moreover, 60 per cent of premenopausal breast cancer patients have hormone-sensitive disease (4) and should therefore be suitable to receive hormonal therapy.(5)

    Goserelin ('Zoladex'(TM) 3.6mg) is indicated in more than 100 countries For use in the hormonal (endocrine) treatment of breast cancer in Premenopausal women. First licensed for the treatment of breast cancer in Premenopausal women in 1990, its indication now covers treatment of both early and advanced stages of the disease in many countries.

    AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services.

    It is one of the top five pharmaceutical companies in the world with healthcare sales of over US$18.8 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, oncology, cardiovascular, neuroscience and respiratory products. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global and European) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

    'Zoladex'(TM) is a trademark of the AstraZeneca group of companies.

    (i) CMF is named after the initials of drugs involved in chemotherapy. They are called: cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and 5 fluorouracil (5FU).

    Notes to editors:

    EUSOMA = European Society of Mastology


    1. Fallowfield L, et al. Same gain, less pain: potential patient preference for adjuvant treatment in premenopausal women with early breast cancer. Eur J Cancer, 2004;40: 2403-2410

    2. Kaufmann M et al, Survival analyses from the ZEBRA study: goserelin (Zoladex) versus CMF in premenopausal women with node-positive breast cancer, Eur J Cancer. 2003;39(12):11-7

    3. De Haes H, Olschewski M Kaufman et al. Quality of Life in Goserelin-Treated Versus Cyclophosphamide_ Methotrexate _ Fluorouracil-Treated Premenopausal and Perimenopausal Patients With Node-Positive, Early Breast Cancer: The Zoladex Early Breast Cancer Research Association Trialists Group J Clin Oncol 2003:21:4510-6

    4. Osbourne, CK. Heterogeneity in hormone receptor status in primary and metastatic breast cancer. Seminars in Oncology 1985:12;3:317-26

    5. Hayes, DF. Atlas of Breast Cancer (Hayes DF ed) Mosby Europe Ltd. London 1993 10.2-10.12

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