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March 25, 1983

Long survival in advanced breast cancer

JAMA. 1983;249(12):1538-1539. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330360008004

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Adjuvant polychemotherapy can turn the mortality tables more in favor of advanced breast cancer patients, according to reports presented at a recent symposium on innovative cancer chemotherapy held in New York City.

Intensive, aggressive, postsurgical polychemotherapy, including prednisone for hormonal catabolic support, can provide a "guarantee" of an extra 2 1/2 years of life for an estimated 200,000 American women who are presently undergoing therapy for recurrent or advanced breast cancer, said Ezra M. Greenspan, MD, associate chief, Division of Medical Oncology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. Most multi-institution studies of high-risk patients with metastatic breast cancer indicate that five-year survival rarely exceeds 10% to 15%, he told the symposium.

Greenspan said, "For the high-risk patient with life-threatening [disease], there is now no question of the need for aggressive polychemotherapy."

Greenspan's statements were reinforced by data presented by Richard G. Cooper, MD, chief of oncology at Buffalo (NY)