Adjuvant chemotherapy for early female breast cancer: a systematic review of the evidence for the 2014 Cancer Care Ontario systemic therapy guideline.
BACKGROUND: The Program in Evidence-Based Care (pebc) of Cancer Care Ontario recently created an evidence-based consensus guideline on the systemic treatment of early breast cancer. The evidence for the guideline was compiled using a systematic review to answer the question "What is the optimal systemic therapy for patients with early-stage, operable breast cancer, when patient and disease factors are considered?" The question was addressed in three parts: cytotoxic chemotherapy, endocrine treatment, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (her2)-directed therapy. METHODS: For the systematic review, the medline and embase databases were searched for the period January 2008 to May 2014. The Standards and Guidelines Evidence directory of cancer guidelines and the Web sites of major oncology guideline organizations were also searched. The basic search terms were "breast cancer" and "systemic therapy" (chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, targeted agents, ovarian suppression), and results were limited to randomized controlled trials (rcts), guidelines, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. RESULTS: Several hundred documents that met the inclusion criteria were retrieved. The Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group meta-analyses encompassed many of the rcts found. Several additional studies that met the inclusion criteria were retained, as were other guidelines and systematic reviews. Chemotherapy was reviewed mainly in three classes: anti-metabolite-based regimens (for example, cyclophosphamide-methotrexate-5-fluorouracil), anthracyclines, and taxane-based regimens. In general, single-agent chemotherapy is not recommended for the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer in any patient population. Anthracycline-taxane-based polychemotherapy regimens are, overall, considered superior to earlier-generation regimens and have the most significant impact on patient survival outcomes. Regimens with varying anthracycline and taxane doses and schedules are options; in general, paclitaxel given every 3 weeks is inferior. Evidence does not support the use of bevacizumab in the adjuvant setting; other systemic therapy agents such as metformin and vaccines remain investigatory. Adjuvant bisphosphonates for menopausal women will be discussed in later work. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this systematic review constitute a comprehensive compilation of the high-level evidence that is the basis for the 2014 pebc guideline on systemic therapy for early breast cancer. Use of cytotoxic chemotherapy is presented here; the results addressing endocrine therapy and her2-targeted treatment, and the final clinical practice recommendations, are published separately in this supplement.
Gandhi, S; Fletcher, GG; Eisen, A; Mates, M; Freedman, OC; Dent, SF; Trudeau, ME
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