The effect on survival of initial chemotherapy in advanced breast cancer: Polychemotherapy versus single drug

D. L. Ahmann, D. J. Schaid, H. F. Bisel, R. G. Hahn, J. H. Edmonson, J. N. Ingle

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53 Scopus citations


Since current clinical trials assessing new agents occur in patients with advanced breast cancer having failed one and sometimes many polychemotherapy programs, these new agents may not be given a fair trial. In an effort to assess the possibility of using an alternative study design, we analyzed older clinical trials that used a controlled study design, randomizing between a single new drug and an established polychemotherapy program with a cross-over design upon failure. We were interested in noting that the pooled data did display a slight survival advantage (median 3.7 months) for the group receiving polychemotherapy as initial therapy. The survival distributions were clearly not significant using the log rank test, but did approach significance using the Smirnov. It is apparent that, while some slight advantage does occur for that group of patients receiving initial polychemotherapy, the magnitude of this effect is not great and is short in duration. Serious consideration should be given to the assessment of new agents as first-line therapy, particularly should they have a unique mode of action or lessened morbidities or toxicities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1928-1932
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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