Adjuvant therapy is an agent that is given as an adjunct to the primary treatment of a cancer.
This type of therapy often refers to treatment that follows surgery or chemotherapy to help decrease the risk of the cancer coming back. Importantly, it is given when there is no evidence that the cancer is still present but in patients who are considered at risk for the cancer to recur.
Adjuvant therapy given before the main treatment is called neoadjuvant therapy. This type of therapy can also decrease the chance of cancer recurring, and is typically used to make the primary treatment easier or more effective.
The types of cancer treatments used as adjuvant therapy include:
- Hormone therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
To help determine whether adjuvant therapy is suitable for a patient, it is important to consider the following:
- Type of cancer
- Stage of cancer
- Amount of lymph nodes involved
- Hormone receptiveness
- Risk of cancer recurrence