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February 1977

Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Cancer: A Point of View

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5000, South Australia.

Arch Surg. 1977;112(2):119-120. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1977.01370020013001

Adjuvant chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer is suddenly fashionable. A recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine1 has the title, "Major Advance in Breast Cancer Therapy," and does not follow the bold statement with a question mark. The writer of the editorial advocated that adjuvant chemotherapy should be given to all patients with early breast cancer without awaiting the outcome of further research. To give chemotherapy soon after the removal of a malignant neoplasm is an attractive approach from several aspects. It seems logical to use cytotoxic agents when residual tumor cells are minimal, and recent experience with both leukemia and Wilms tumors suggests that continuing chemotherapy against subclinical disease can be remarkably successful. As well, some experimental work with animal models has demonstrated that early chemotherapy can cure micrometastases. Undoubtedly the greatest factor in bringing adjuvant therapy into the spotlight has been the recent publication

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