Muscle Mass Could Predict Chemo Side Effects in Early Breast Cancer, Study Reports

Muscle Mass Could Predict Chemo Side Effects in Early Breast Cancer, Study Reports
Early-stage breast cancer patients with low muscle mass are at increased risk of experiencing serious chemotherapy side effects and twice as likely to be hospitalized, according to a study. The findings suggest that both muscle quantity and quality could be used to predict which patients are at high risk of toxic effects from chemo. And the measures could replace body surface area in determining appropriate chemotherapy doses, the researchers said. The study, “Body Composition as a Predictor of Toxicity in Patients Receiving Anthracycline and Taxane Based Chemotherapy for Early Stage Breast Cancer,” was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. Chemotherapy is an essential component of treatment for early breast cancer, especially in patients with HER2 positive or triple-negative tumors. Yet, chemotherapy toxicity is a major issue. Nearly 20% of patients experience non-hematological -- or non-blood -- toxicities, and 40% hematological toxicities. Doctors say the challenge is predicting which patients are likely to experience chemotherapy side effects, and to what extent. Researchers at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center developed a tool to help doctors identify patients at high risk of side effects that are so severe that they can lead to hospitalization. Shlomit Strulov Shachar, MD, and his colleagues reviewed the medical records of 151 patients treated for early breast cancer at the N.C. Cancer Hospital between 2008 and 2013. Fifty patients, or 33%, experienced serious chemotherapy toxicities. They incl
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