A trial comparing adjuvant chemotherapy with standard treatment for older women with early stage breast cancer (ACTION)

Cancer type:

Breast cancer




Phase 3

This trial was looking at chemotherapy after surgery for breast cancer in women over the age of 70. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

Women with early stage breast cancer often have chemotherapy after surgery. This is called adjuvant treatment. Doctors use adjuvant chemotherapy when they think there is a significant risk that the cancer could come back in the future.

Adjuvant chemotherapy increases survival from breast cancer and reduces the chances of it returning in younger women. But there hadn't been many trials that had looked at how well chemotherapy worked for women over 70. Researchers thought that chemotherapy would stop or delay breast cancer coming back in older women, but they didn’t know for sure.

Doctors usually give chemotherapy for breast cancer every 3 weeks. But having it more often may work better. You would normally have a break between each chemotherapy treatment because it can cause a drop in your blood count, increasing your risk of infections. If you have chemotherapy more often, a drug called GCSF can stimulate white blood cells to grow back more quickly.

The aims of this trial were to

  • Find out how well adjuvant chemotherapy worked for women over 70 years of age who had early stage breast cancer
  • Find out if having chemotherapy was acceptable to older women
  • Learn more about the side effects of having chemotherapy every 3 weeks or having chemotherapy and GCSF every 2 weeks

Summary of results

This trial was never finished so there are no results available. The researchers were unable to recruit enough patients.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Robert Leonard

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/06/002.

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 479

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Deborah wanted to help other breast cancer patients in the future

A picture of Deborah

“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."

Last reviewed:

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