BackgroundThe TACT trial (CRUK/01/001) compared adjuvant sequential FEC-docetaxel (FEC-D) chemotherapy with standard anthracycline-based chemotherapy of similar duration in women with early breast cancer. Results at a median of 5 years suggested no improvement in disease-free survival with FEC-D. Given differing toxicity profiles of the regimens, the impact on quality of life (QL) was explored.
MethodsPatients from 44 centres completed standardised QL questionnaires before chemotherapy, after cycles 4 and 8, at 9, 12, 18 and 24 months and at 6 years follow-up. Patient diaries assessed frequency, associated distress and impact on daily activity of 15 treatment related side effects.
Findings830 patients (415 FEC-D; 415 controls) contributed assessments during 0-24 months; 362 of whom participated again at 6 years. During chemotherapy, FEC-D impaired global health/QL and depression rates and significantly more QL domains than standard regimens. Novel diary card ratings highlighted significantly more distress and interference with daily activities due to FEC-D side effects compared with standard treatment. In both groups, most QL parameters returned to baseline levels by 2 years and were unchanged at 6 years.
InterpretationWithin expected negative effects of chemotherapy on wide ranging QL domains FEC-D patients reported greater toxicity, disruption and distress during treatment with no improvement in disease outcome at 5 years than patients receiving standard anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Findings should inform future patients of relative costs and benefits of adjuvant chemotherapy.
SUBMITTER: Hall E