DNC News


Taxols' effectiveness against breast cancer in question

Jacob Schor, ND
October 11, 2007

My first thought was that the Rocky Mountain News had made a typo.
This morning's Top Story headline read: 
"Cancer drug comes under question:  Research indicates that the drug Taxol does not work on the most common form of breast cancer, potentially sparing patients from side effects without a significant increase in risk"

Having just prepared yesterday's newsletter on the anthracycline doxorubicin and its ineffectiveness against most breast cancers, my first thought is that somehow they had confused the drugs down at the Rocky. They mean doxorubicin, not Taxol.

[Yesterday's newsletter: Link]

But, no, today's story by Marilynn Marchione, another Associated Press writer, is about Taxol.
The bottom line is almost the same as yesterday's story.  Taxol only appears to be of benefit to women who are Her-2 positive. For the majority of women with breast cancer who are Her-2 negative and especially those who are estrogen receptor positive, Taxol does not provide benefit.

Link to AP story:  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071010/ap_on_he_me/breast_cancer_chemo

At this point, you should be confused.
In the course of a week the two primary chemotherapy agents that have been standard of care for treating breast cancer have been reported to be useless for cancers other than the small percentage that are Her-2 positive. 

Are we missing something here? Not to be paranoid, but I can't help but be reminded of the stories that John Abramson relates in his book Overdosed America.  I wrote about Dr. Abramson who trains family practice doctors at Harvard in a newsletter last summer.  Abramson has called the bluff on the government's lipid guidelines that encourage the wide spread prescription of statin drugs.  He tells a story of drug companies unduly influencing research to sell more drugs.

Let's not go there though in regard to cancer drugs yet.  It's a beautiful day and I don't want to sully it thinking that a hundred thousand women have endured a chemo treatment that did them no good because of unbalanced research.  At this point, let's assume that there is new data.  This new data will help oncologists  tailor chemotherapy so that it will more likely benefit the women who undergo it.

Expect to hear more details about both these stories in the near future.

We still have  copies of John Abramson's book for sale at the office.

Link to newsletter about the book: http://denvernaturopathic.com/OverdosedAmerica.htm

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