Oral treatment of metastatic breast cancer with capecitabine: what influences the decision-making process?

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2010 Jan 1;19(1):131-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2354.2008.00999.x. Epub 2009 Jul 20.


The importance of selecting treatment for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) that best suits the needs of the patient while offering a good clinical outcome is becoming more prominent in the decision-making process. We designed a questionnaire-based study to identify factors influencing treatment choice. We prospectively surveyed 218 female MBC patients scheduled to receive chemotherapy who were eligible for capecitabine monotherapy. All 215 patients who answered the questionnaire preferred oral capecitabine to intravenous chemotherapy. The most frequently cited reason for this preference was convenience (72%). The possibility of staying at home during treatment was considered important by 67% of patients overall, 42% of the 71 patients giving only one reason for their preference, 65% of those receiving first-line therapy and 74% treated in the second-line setting. Our study suggests that most patients prefer oral chemotherapy because of the convenience and possibility of staying at home during treatment. The study did not explore patient perceptions of efficacy or tolerability, which play a pivotal role in treatment selection from both the patient and physician perspectives. Capecitabine provides a very effective treatment for MBC and additionally addresses patients' desire to receive treatment at home.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / secondary
  • Capecitabine
  • Decision Making
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Fluorouracil / analogs & derivatives*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Capecitabine
  • Fluorouracil