The validity of chemotherapy drug Adriamycin has been called into question, as a new study shows breast cancer survival rates are almost unchanged by its usage.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the survival rates between those who were given the drug and those who were not were so similar, it was not needed to treat the disease at all.
Instead, researchers found combining chemotherapy and the drug Herceptin to treat women with an aggressive form of early-stage breast cancer could help boost survival rates.
The study showed that those who took a combination of Adriamycin, Herceptin and chemotherapy drugs Carboplatin and Taxotere had a five-year survival rate of 92%.
Meanwhile, 91% of those who took Herceptin, Carboplatin and Taxotere, but no Adriamycin, were still alive after five years. Combining Adriamycin and Herceptin has been shown to cause permanent heart damage.
Dennis Slamon, of the University of California, lead author of the study, said: “We’re encouraged that the survival advantages found in this study have been maintained and continue to be significant.
“I believe there’s room for even further improvement.”