Cover: A Review of the Research Landscape for Treatment of Early Breast Cancer

A Review of the Research Landscape for Treatment of Early Breast Cancer

Implications for future research, policy and practice

Published Jun 11, 2019

by Ioana Ghiga, Camilla d'Angelo, Sarah King, Josephine Exley, Amelia Harshfield, Daniela Rodriguez-Rincon, Brandi Leach, Catriona Manville, Sonja Marjanovic

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.9 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Research Question

  1. What is published in the literature on the impact of treatment of early breast cancer?

RAND Europe conducted a study on the societal impact of early breast cancer. This study was divided into three interconnected phases, which together aim to enrich the evidence base on the broader health, societal and economic impacts of treatment of early breast cancer, using a mixed methods approach. It highlights the available evidence and state of research on early breast cancer and considers the impact and 'cost' of disease progression for patients and their carers, as well as wider society. The first phase consisted of a mapping review on the published literature on the impacts of treatment of early breast cancer. The review revealed existing gaps in the evidence on the non-clinical impacts of treatment of early breast cancer to patients, carers or wider society. Studies of treatment effectiveness clearly dominate the literature and there is much less evidence on other types of outcomes extending beyond traditional treatment effectiveness evaluations. Yet understanding the wider impacts of cancer survivorship is important to better understand the impacts beyond treatment of breast cancer, and there is a need for more detailed analyses of these to inform better-informed decision making.

Key Findings

  • Most primary research that considers the impacts from treating early breast cancer report on either observational studies (48.0%) or randomised controlled trials (RCTs) (41.1%).
  • The most frequently reported outcomes across the pool of analysed primary papers are survival (55.0%) and recurrence (53.7%).
  • Chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy are the most common therapies (38.3%, 36.2% and 29.2% of all primary research studies respectively), followed by hormonal therapy (22.3%) and biological therapy (12.8%).
  • Only 15.6% of all primary papers in the sample analysed for the mapping review mentioned the country of focus for the studies they report on in the title and abstract, covering 33 countries, across diverse regions globally.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.