COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT BREAST CANCER: HOW LONG SHOULD CHEMOTHERAPY BE GIVEN?
In early breast cancer clinical trials, most treatment protocols continued chemotherapy for one to two years. Studies using fewer courses of chemotherapy showed similar results, suggesting that long-term administration may not provide further benefits. Current investigations suggest that chemotherapy should be given for at least three months in order to achieve maximum benefit. In addition, analysis of repeated treatments using the same drug combination suggests that benefits cease at six cycles. Therefore the optimal number of cycles appears to be six. Nevertheless, the intervals between cycles can be changed, or the length of treatment extended, depending on the specific characteristics of the patient.