Modern chemo cuts mortality in breast cancer patients

A major analysis of 123 randomized trials involving over 100,000 women with breast cancer over the past 40 years shows that modern chemotherapy regimens reduce mortality by around one third. The researchers studied the trials of various older chemotherapy regimens, finding that standard 1980s chemotherapy regimens could produce a reduction of almost a quarter in breast cancer mortality. They also studied recent trials of modern regimens vs older ones, which showed a further reduction of about one-sixth in breast cancer mortality.

They conclude that modern regimens reduce breast cancer mortality rates by about a third among a wide range of patients. The reduction applies to all women, irrespective of age, how big the tumour was, whether it had started to spread to the local lymph nodes and whether it was oestrogen-receptor (ER)-positive. The risk of an ER-positive breast cancer causing death can be reduced substantially by five years of endocrine therapy, which is much less toxic than chemotherapy. Read more…


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