There is clear evidence of long-term benefits
The Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) 2000 overview of adjuvant systemic treatment trials for early breast cancer has demonstrated clear evidence of substantial and significant reductions in both recurrence and mortality, with follow-up now to 15 years.1 This is the fourth EBCTCG overview of adjuvant systemic therapies, conducted at 5-year intervals since 1985.2-6 The EBCTCG 2000 analysis, based on individual patient data from 145 000 women diagnosed with early breast cancer, involved 194 trials started by 1995 in which chemotherapy and hormonal therapy were evaluated alone and in combination for their effects on recurrence, breast cancer mortality and total mortality. This overview, with data from more trials than the earlier overviews, more patients and more years of follow-up, provided new and long-term information on adjuvant chemotherapy in women aged 50–69 years, tamoxifen duration, combined modality therapy, and cause-specific mortality (Box).
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