Journal Article
. 2012 Nov;19(5).
doi: 10.3747/co.19.1038.

Evaluating the efficacy of current clinical practice of adjuvant chemotherapy in postmenopausal women with early-stage, estrogen or progesterone receptor-positive, one-to-three positive axillary lymph node, breast cancer

M B Hannouf 1 M Brackstone  B Xie  G S Zaric  
  • PMID: 23144580
  •     44 References
  •     5 citations


Purpose: We evaluated the benefit of the current clinical practice of adjuvant chemotherapy for postmenopausal women with early-stage, estrogen- or progesterone-receptor-positive (er/pr+), one-to-three positive axillary lymph node (1-3 ln+), breast cancer (esbc).

Methods: Using the Manitoba Cancer Registry, we identified all postmenopausal women diagnosed with er/pr+ 1-3 ln+ esbc during the periods 1995-1997, 2000-2002, and 2003-2005 (n = 156, 161, and 171 respectively). Treatment data were obtained from the Manitoba Cancer Registry and by linkage with Manitoba administrative databases. Seven-year survival data were available for the 1995-1997 and 2000-2002 populations. Using Cox regression, we assessed the independent effect of the clinical practice of adjuvant chemotherapy on disease-free (dfs) and overall survival (os).

Results: Clinical breast cancer treatments did not differ significantly between the 2000-2002 and 2003-2005 populations. Adjuvant chemotherapy was administered in 103 patients in the 2000-2002 population (64%) and in 44 patients in the 1995-1997 population [28.2%; mean difference: 36%; 95% confidence interval (ci): 31% to 40%; p < 0.0001]. Compared with 1995-1997, 2000-2002 was not significantly associated with an incremental dfs benefit for patients over a period of 7 years (2000-2002 vs. 1995-1997; adjusted hazard ratio: 0.98; 95% ci: 0.64 to 1.4).

Conclusions: The treatment standard of adjuvant chemotherapy in addition to endocrine therapy may not be effective for all women with er/pr+ 1-3 ln+ esbc. There could be a subgroup of those women who do not benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy as expected and who are therefore being overtreated. Further studies with a larger sample size are warranted to confirm our results.

Keywords: Breast cancer; adjuvant chemotherapy; clinical practice patterns.

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