Systematic review of efficacy of dose-dense versus non-dose-dense chemotherapy in breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and non-small cell lung cancer.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Critical reviews in oncology/hematology, Volume 81, Issue 3, p.296-308 (2012)


Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Breast Neoplasms, Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Female, Humans, Lung Neoplasms, Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin, Male, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have suggested a potential advantage of dose-dense chemotherapy in improving disease-free and overall survival in patients with certain malignancies. This systematic review summarizes the literature on the efficacy of dose-dense chemotherapy across various cancers (breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma [NHL], and non-small cell lung cancer) and chemotherapy regimens. Among the 17 trials identified, few reported statistically significant differences between dose-dense and standard chemotherapy, and most were small with limited statistical power. Statistically significant differences in overall survival favoring dose-dense schedules were apparent among large RCTs in potentially curative settings such as early-stage breast cancer and NHL. Clinical and treatment heterogeneity demonstrated the flexibility of the dose-dense paradigm but also precluded quantitative meta-analysis of results. Further study of dose-dense schedules based on large RCTs is needed to demonstrate the consistency and generalizability of these findings.