- Open Clinical Trials
- Closed Clinical Trials
- 2022-2026 Research Strategy
- Research Achievements
- Research Development and Funding
- BCT Trials & Projects Summary
- Clinical Fellowship Program
- International Fellowship Support
- Translational Research
- What is a Clinical Trial?
- Why Participate in a Clinical Trial?
- Research Blog
- Participating Institutions
- International Collaboration
- Annual Scientific Meeting
- Travel Grants and Awards
- Our Impact
- Researcher Login
Comparing Continuous vs Intermittent Chemotherapy Treatment for Advanced Breast Cancer
In the early 1980’s chemotherapy was widely used in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer and while it produced remission in some cases, chemotherapy was not a curative treatment and the optimal duration of chemotherapy was undefined.
Standard treatment involved long periods of chemotherapy and previous research showed that continued treatment until the maximum tolerable dosage had been reached, produced unwanted side effects for patients and was unpopular.
Researchers wanted to investigate if patients could benefit from intermittent chemotherapy treatment, while still maintaining control of the disease, so that patients could enjoy periods without the side effects of chemotherapy and improve their quality of life.
The ANZ8101 clinical trial compared continuous chemotherapy with intermittent therapy, whereby treatment was stopped after three cycles and then repeated for three more cycles only when there was evidence of disease progression.
In what was landmark research, it was the first time that a breast cancer clinical trial incorporated patient reported outcomes or quality of life measures.
Intermittent therapy resulted in a significantly worse response, a significantly shorter time to disease progression and a trend toward shorter survival. It was also associated with worse scores for physical well-being, mood and appetite, and for a quality-of-life index as indicated by the patient.
Researchers concluded that continuous chemotherapy was better than intermittent chemotherapy in controlling the disease and women with advanced disease could be assured that the standard treatment was the best available.
The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and 308 patients participated in the study across Australia and New Zealand.