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Posted by on Apr 27, 2019 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated chemotherapy regimens in early breast cancer (BC). They found that shortening the duration of treatment improved BC outcomes.  

Some background

Breast cancer (BC) is one of the most common cancers. Standard treatment involves chemotherapy. Standard chemotherapy involves taking a combination of drugs. These drugs are usually taken over a specific period of time. Anthracycline and taxane are two types of standard chemotherapy drugs. 

Alternative chemotherapy regimens may be more effective in BC. Some studies suggest that shorter treatment duration is more effective. Intensive chemotherapy is an alternative regimen. In this regimen, the same amount of drugs are administered over a shorter time period.

Also, some studies suggest that chemotherapy drugs should not be administered in combination. Administering drugs separately (in a sequential mode) may be more effective. Combined administration can be also associated with side effects. Some drugs can have a negative effect on other drugs. Stronger drug doses can be used when they are administered alone. It is unclear if these regimens are more effective than standard chemotherapy in BC. 

Methods & findings

This study reviewed 26 clinical trials. These included overall 37,298 patients with early BC. Some trials investigated standard chemotherapy compared to intense chemotherapy. Other trials compared sequential administration of drugs and combined administration.   

The 10-year risk of BC recurrence was 14% lower in intense chemotherapy-treated patients compared to standard chemotherapy. Death risk was 13% lower in intense-chemotherapy patients. Sequential administration chemotherapy was also associated with reduced disease recurrence and death. 

The bottom line

The authors concluded that more intense chemotherapy improved BC outcomes.  

The fine print

Chemotherapy regimens are associated with negative side effects. The side effects were different across studies analyzed. Further research is needed.

What’s next?

If you have any concerns regarding BC treatment, please consult with your oncologist. 

Published By :

Lancet (London, England)

Date :

Feb 07, 2019

Original Title :

Increasing the dose intensity of chemotherapy by more frequent administration or sequential scheduling: a patient-level meta-analysis of 37 298 women with early breast cancer in 26 randomised trials.

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