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BMC Cancer. 2013 May 16;13:240. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-13-240.

Association between delayed initiation of adjuvant CMF or anthracycline-based chemotherapy and survival in breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Breast Surgery, Cancer Center and Cancer Institute, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, 399 Ling-Ling Road, Shanghai 200032, People's Republic of China. yukd@shca.org.cn

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) improves survival among patients with operable breast cancer. However, the effect of delay in AC initiation on survival is unclear. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the relationship between time to AC and survival outcomes.

METHODS:

PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Web-of-Science databases (between January-1 1978 and January-29, 2013) were searched for eligible studies. Hazard ratios (HRs) for overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) from each study were converted to a regression coefficient (β) corresponding to a continuous representation per 4-week delay of AC. Most used regimens of chemotherapy in included studies were CMF (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil) or anthracycline-based. Individual adjusted β were combined using a fixed-effects or random-effects model depending on heterogeneity.

RESULTS:

We included 7 eligible studies with 9 independent analytical groups involving 34,097 patients, 1 prospective observational study, 2 secondary analyses in randomized trials (4 analytical groups), and 4 hospital-/population-based retrospective study. The overall meta-analysis demonstrated that a 4-week increase in time to AC was associated with a significant decrease in both OS (HR = 1.15; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-1.28; random-effects model) and DFS (HR = 1.16; 95% CI, 1.01-1.33; fixed-effects model). One study caused a significant between-study heterogeneity for OS (P < 0.001; I² = 75.4%); after excluding that single study, there was no heterogeneity (P = 0.257; I² = 23.6%) and the HR was more significant (HR = 1.17; 95% CI, 1.12-1.22; fixed-effects model). Each single study did not fundamentally influence the positive outcome and no evidence of publication bias was observed in OS.

CONCLUSIONS:

Longer time to AC is probably associated with worse survival in breast cancer patients.

PMID:
23679207
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3722097
Free PMC Article
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