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Roche Breast Cancer Pill Fails To Help Older Women

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CHICAGO, May 31 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG's (ROG.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) oral chemotherapy drug Xeloda, or capecitabine, proved inferior to standard chemotherapy in treating older women with early stage breast cancer, a study released on Saturday at a major meeting of oncology specialists found.

Researchers had thought the oral pill, if effective, could be a gentler alternative to standard chemotherapy after surgery in women older than 65 -- an age group typically underrepresented in clinical trials.

"What we found was standard therapy was superior," said the study's lead author, Dr. Hyman Muss of the University of Vermont's College of Medicine. "These were rather surprising numbers."

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