Date of publication: January 27, 2014
For women with triple-negative breast cancer who are candidates for adjuvant (post-surgery) chemotherapy, starting chemotherapy relatively soon after surgery appears to result in better outcomes than delayed chemotherapy. These results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The optimal time to begin chemotherapy after surgery for breast cancer has not been well defined. To evaluate whether the time between surgery and start of chemotherapy influences breast cancer outcomes, researchers collected information about almost 7,000 women who were diagnosed with Stage I to Stage III breast cancer.
Forty percent of the women started chemotherapy within 30 days after surgery, 44% of the women started chemotherapy between 31 and 60 days after surgery, and 16% of the women started chemotherapy more than 60 days after surgery.
Certain subgroups of women had better breast cancer outcomes if they started chemotherapy sooner rather than later. These subgroups included women with Stage III tumors, women with triple-negative breast cancer, and women with HER2-positive breast cancer that was treated with trastuzumab.
Among women with triple-negative breast cancer, those who started chemotherapy within 30 days after surgery had better overall survival than women who started chemotherapy more than 30 days after surgery.
These results suggest that certain groups of breast cancer patients-including those with triple-negative breast cancer-may benefit from early initiation of chemotherapy.