Which chemotherapy agents are used in adjuvant therapy for breast cancer?

Updated: May 21, 2019
  • Author: Erin V Newton, MD; Chief Editor: Neetu Radhakrishnan, MD  more...
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Agents used in adjuvant breast cancer systemic therapy include the following:

  • Taxanes: Among the most active and commonly used chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of early stage breast cancer

  • Anthracyclines: Used in the treatment of early stage breast cancer for decades, although concerns regarding anthracycline-associated cardiotoxicity or leukemogenic potential remain

  • Pertuzumab: Used in combination with trastuzumab and chemotherapy as adjuvant treatment of patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer at high risk of recurrence

  • Ado-trastuzumab emtansine: Used in adjuvant treatment of patient with HER2-positive early breast cancer who have residual invasive disease after neoadjuvant taxane- and trastuzumab-based treatment

  • Trastuzumab:  Used in the adjuvant treatment in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer

  • Tamoxifen: Used in the treatment of estrogen receptor (ER) ̶ positive breast cancer; decreases estrogen's ability to stimulate existing micrometastases or dormant cancer cells

  • Aromatase inhibitors (AIs): Inhibit aromatase, the enzyme responsible for converting other steroid hormones into estrogen

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