Chemotherapy for Late-Stage Cancer Patients: Meta-Analysis of Complete Response Rates

Derek Abbott, Martin L. Ashdown, Andrew P. Robinson, Steven L. Yatomi-Clarke, M. Luisa Ashdown, Andrew Allison, Svetomir N. Markovic, Brendon J. Coventry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Complete response (CR) rates reported for cytotoxic chemotherapy for late-stage cancer patients are generally low, with few exceptions, regardless of the solid cancer type or drug regimen. We investigated CR rates reported in the literature for clinical trials using chemotherapy alone, across a wide range of tumour types and chemotherapeutic regimens, to determine an overall CR rate for late-stage cancers. A total of 141 reports were located using the PubMed database. A meta-analysis was performed of reported CR from 68 chemotherapy trials (total 2732 patients) using standard agents across late-stage solid cancers-a binomial model with random effects was adopted. Mean CR rates were compared for different cancer types, and for chemotherapeutic agents with different mechanisms of action, using a logistic regression. Our results showed that the CR rates for chemotherapy treatment of late-stage cancer were generally low at 7.4%, regardless of the cancer type or drug regimen used. We found no evidence that CR rates differed between different chemotherapy drug types, but amongst different cancer types small CR differences were evident, although none exceeded a mean CR rate of 11%. This remarkable concordance of CR rates regardless of cancer or therapy type remains currently unexplained, and motivates further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number232
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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