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Study: Postoperative chemotherapy boosts survival chances of lung cancer patients

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Postoperative chemotherapy modestly improves the survival rate of patients suffering from non-small cell lung cancer, new research has found.

In the study, a research team led by Sarah Burdett of the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit in London reviewed nearly 50 randomized trials dating back to 1965, according to MedPage Today.

An analysis of 34 separate studies involving 8,447 patients found that the five-year survival rate of lung cancer patients who had surgery and chemotherapy was 64 percent, compared to just 60 percent for those who had surgery alone.

Meanwhile, a second analysis of 13 other studies including 2,660 patients showed that 33 percent of patients who underwent surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy were still alive five years after treatment. In contrast, only 29 percent of those who had surgery and radiotherapy alone survived through the same period of time.

"In both meta-analyses we noted little variation in effect according to the type of chemotherapy, other trial characteristics, or patient subgroup," wrote Burdett and her colleagues, quoted by Health Day News.

In an accompanying editorial, Gregory Kalemkerian, of the University of Michigan, noted that "although the survival benefit seems small, worldwide adoption of adjuvant chemotherapy could save up to 10,000 lives every year."
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