Key data in the decision process regarding chemotherapy include the response rate, median duration of response, and median survival, along with toxicity and quality of life information.
A table (updated in 2015) that synthesizes response and survival data on for several common cancers is available at the reference.
Comments on the table
- All data is for patients receiving first-line, commercially available, oral or IV chemotherapy and/or biological therapy.
- “Response rate” = the percentage of complete and partial responders in a given trial; “Partial response” = > 50 % reduction in measurable tumor for one month.
- Response is typically determined after 2 cycles of treatment (usually one cycle every 21-28 days).
- The data reflect mid-point ranges derived from the available clinical trials; most of the data represent combination chemotherapy trials.
- The data represent the ‘best case’ outcome, from a population of patients who were in good enough health to participate in a clinical trial (e.g. ambulatory, good functional status)..
- Median survival data includes both responders and non-responders.
These are data mostly from studies in high income countries, but this information may be also useful for countries in other socio economic levels.
See reference for more information.
Adapted from Epperla N and Weissman DE. Chemotherapy: response and survival data. Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin. Fast facts and concepts #99. Internet. Accessed on April 28, 2018.