Anthracycline versus nonanthracycline adjuvant therapy for early breast cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Purpose:The clinical benefits provided by using anthracycline-contained regimens in patients with early breast cancer (EBC) remain uncertain. This meta-analysis used data from all relevant trials to compare treatment outcomes for patients with EBC receiving adjuvant chemotherapy with non–anthracycline-contained regimens or anthracycline-contained regimens.Patients and Methods:Individual patient data were collected on 7 randomized trials comparing non–anthracycline-contained regimens with anthracycline-contained regimens, a total of 14,451 women were analyzed. The hazard ratios (HR) of disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS), and the risk ratios for grades 3 to 4 toxicities were extracted from the retrieved studies and analyzed using various statistical methods. A pooled analysis was accomplished and HR with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) was derived. The significant differences in DFS and OS were explored. A heterogeneity test was applied as well.Results:Among 7 eligible trials, significant differences in favor of anthracycline-contained regimens were seen in DFS (HR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.78–0.95; P = .003) and in OS (HR: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.75–0.97; P = .01). Subgroup analyses of DFS showed similar treatment effects by hormone-receptor status and nodal status, but differential effects by human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 status, menopausal status, and malignancy grade. Sensitive analysis showed that the DFS of taxanes and cyclophosphamide (TC) was noninferior to anthracycline-contained regiments.Conclusion:Despite failing to show noninferior to the anthracycline-contained regimens in patients with EBC, it provides evidence that both regimens significantly improved the DFS and OS, and TC regimen may be noninferior to anthracycline-contained regimens.

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