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Home > Understanding Breast Cancer > Breast Cancer Research > Table 39: Adjuvant chemotherapy and overall survival

  


Table 39: Adjuvant chemotherapy and overall survival

This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables offer an informative look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. However, they should be viewed with some caution. In order to read and interpret research tables successfully, it is important to understand some key concepts. Learn how to read a research table.

Introduction: Adjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy after breast surgery) improves survival in women with breast cancer. Findings from a pooled analysis that combined data from 60 randomized clinical trials (that together included 28,764 women) showed women of all ages and different types of breast cancer can benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. Women under age 50 showed the most improvement in 15-year overall survival.

The benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy depends on a person’s prognosis. People with the poorest prognosis get the most survival improvement, while those with the best prognoses get the smallest benefit.

Learn more about chemotherapy.

Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different types of studies.

Study selection criteria: Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative pooled analysis.

Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group
Pooled Analysis
 

Age and Prognosis 

15-Year Overall Survival 

Percent Surviving— Chemotherapy 

Percent Surviving—No Chemotherapy 

Absolute Improvement in Survival with Chemotherapy 

By age at diagnosis 

<40 years

70%

64%

6%

40-49

76%

69%

7%

50-59

70%

66%

4%

60-69

69%

66%

3%

70 years or older

74%

68%

6%

Among women <50 at diagnosis 

Lymph node-negative

84%

79%

5%

Lymph node-positive

55%

46%

9%

Among women 50-69 at diagnosis 

Lymph node-negative

86%

83%

3%

Lymph node-positive

62%

59%

3%

References 

1. Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group. Effects of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy for early breast cancer on recurrence and 15-year survival: an overview of the randomised trials. Lancet. 365(9472):1687-717, 2005.

Updated 01/13/14