Breast cancer chemotherapy fails to promise relapse-free survival: Study

London, Nov 9 (IANS) Contrary to expectations, the use of tailored dose-dense chemotherapy in women with high-risk early breast cancer failed to result in any statistically significant improvement in breast cancer recurrence-free survival, a study has found.

Dose-dense therapy, defined as delivery of chemotherapy at shorter intervals without increasing the cumulative dose, has been suggested as a means to improve efficacy of chemotherapy for early breast cancer.

However, the study led by researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, showed that over a median of 5.3 years the breast cancer recurrence-free survival rates in patients who underwent for tailored dose-dense chemotherapy was 88.7 per cent, whereas those who had standard chemotherapy it was 85 per cent — a difference that was not statistically significant.

Further, patients in the tailored dose-dense group also suffered with non-hematologic toxic effects, such as fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, and neutropenic infection, than patients who took standard adjuvant chemotherapy.

Non-hematologic toxic effects were found to occur in 527 (53 per cent) in the tailored dose-dense group and 366 (37 per cent) in the standard adjuvant chemotherapy group, the researchers said.

“Although the total treatment time was similar, patients in the tailored dose-dense group underwent more therapy courses and subsequently had more toxic effects, more hospital visits and frequent blood draws,” Jonas Bergh, Professor in Karolinska Institutet, was quoted as saying to

For the study, appearing in the journal JAMA, the team randomly assigned 2,017 women with high-risk early breast cancer aged 65 years and younger.