Progress in adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer: an overview
- BMC Medicine
Authors: Jesus Anampa, Della Makower, Joseph A. Sparano
Publisher: BioMed Central
Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer and cancer death worldwide. Although most patients present with localized breast cancer and may be rendered disease-free with local therapy, distant recurrence is common and is the primary cause of death from the disease. Adjuvant systemic therapies are effective in reducing the risk of distant and local recurrence, including endocrine therapy, anti-HER2 therapy, and chemotherapy, even in patients at low risk of recurrence. The widespread use of adjuvant systemic therapy has contributed to reduced breast cancer mortality rates. Adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens have evolved from single alkylating agents to polychemotherapy regimens incorporating anthracyclines and/or taxanes. This review summarizes key milestones in the evolution of adjuvant systemic therapy in general, and adjuvant chemotherapy in particular. Although adjuvant treatments are routinely guided by predictive factors for endocrine therapy (hormone receptor expression) and anti-HER2 therapy (HER2 overexpression), predicting benefit from chemotherapy has been more challenging. Randomized studies are now in progress utilizing multiparameter gene expression assays that may more accurately select patients most likely to benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.