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The CANTO Study: improving the quality of life of women with breast cancer

Every year, over 50,000 women develop breast cancer in France. Among them, more than 80% will live 10 years after their cancer diagnosis thanks to medical and scientific advancements. However, the treatments given often lead to a build-up of toxicities. The CANTO Study aims to define these toxicities, identify the populations prone to developing them and adapt treatments accordingly to guarantee a better quality of life.



The CANTO study (for CANcer TOxicities) is a ‘cohort’ study i.e. a study that aims at long-term follow-up of a large number of people. CANTO will accompany 20,000 women treated for breast cancer over a period of ten years.

The goal of CANTO is to quantify and prevent chronic toxicities related to treatment (surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, etc.). It ultimately aims to improve the quality of life of women undergoing localised breast cancer treatment by preventing the toxic effects of treatments. It is one of the key points of the Cancer Plan 2: life after cancer.

CANTO has been selected to receive 14 million euros in State support in the framework of a call for ‘Cohort’ projects for the Future Investments Programme (part of the national loan scheme known as the Grand emprunt) whose goal is to promote flagship research projects at the national level.

A study supported by Unicancer

CANTO is coordinated by Dr Fabrice André, Oncologist at the Gustave Roussy Cancer Institute (IGR, Villejuif) and Director of Research Unit U981 (Glossary: Inserm Research Unit - Gustave Roussy Institute – Paris-Sud University 11 U981 ‘Predictive biomarkers and new molecular strategies in anti-cancer therapy’). Its promotion is ensured by Unicancer.

The database for collecting study information will be housed at the Georges François Leclerc Center in Dijon, under the direction of Prof. Patrick Arvreux. Genome and serum analyses will be led by Dr Gilles Thomas of the Léon Bérard Centre in Lyon.

The coordination of analyses of socio-economic impacts will be led by Dr Sarah Dauchy of the Department of Support Care of the Gustave Roussy Institute and Philippe Amiel of the Research Unit for Human and Social Sciences of the IGR.

Recruitment and follow-up of patients will be carried out in all French Comprehensive Cancer Centers.



 This study will in the end help improve the quality of life of patients during and after their treatments. Now that we can cure more and more women, we need to focus on them being able to live with the best quality of life possible by preventing possible toxicities and after-effects related to treatments

 Dr Fabrice André



The objectives of CANTO

CANTO has 4 objectives:

1st - Create a database collecting information in a prospective way on chronic toxicity reported by 20,000 patients treated for localised breast cancer

2nd - Analyse the data by describing chronic toxicity, its incidence, biological characteristics and clinical manifestations

3rd - Evaluate the social impact of chronic toxicity on the quality of life of patients and the economic impact on the cost of cancer treatment

4th - Identify biological markers related to the development of toxicity and develop tests capable of identifying populations at high risk of developing late onset side effects

Other partners

The CANTO cohort also will coordinate with and have the support of the INCa, Inserm, university teaching hospitals and the private sector (research companies, pharmaceutical industry, etc.).


CANTO Study key dates

25 January 2011 – obtained a grant of 14 million euros from the Future Investments Programme (part of the national loan scheme known as the Grand emprunt)
2011 – study launch
2012-2016 – recruitment of patients
2017 – beginning of statistical analyses, after recruitment of all patients
2021 – end of the study