Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in the Combined Modality Approach of Locally Advanced Nonmetastatic Breast Cancer

Sandra M. Swain, Richard A. Sorace, Caroline S. Bagley, David N. Danforth, Judith Bader, Margaret N. Wesley, Seth M. Steinberg, Marc E. Lippman

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247 Scopus citations


We have treated 76 patients with locally advanced breast cancer, 31 with stage IIIA, 41 with stage IIIB, and 4 with stage IV disease, with primary induction chemotherapy including an attempted hormonal synchronization in 70 patients. All were treated to maximum objective clinical response before proceeding to any local therapy. Patients achieving a complete response with a negative repeat biopsy generally received radiation therapy while patients with residual disease, partial response (PR) or no change (NC) status received debulking surgery prior to radiation therapy. Regardless of response to induction chemotherapy, patients received at least 6 additional months of chemotherapy following local therapy. Initial doses of combination chemotherapy were escalated to targeted myelosuppression. The objective response rate to induction chemotherapy was 93% with 49% complete response (CR), 44% PR, and 7% NC. The median numbers of cycles of chemotherapy to achieve a CR, PR, or NC were 5, 3, and 5, respectively. Three patients who currently have PRs are still on chemotherapy with continued tumor regression. Of 37 patients achieving a CR to chemotherapy, 35 were assessed by biopsies to determine pathological evidence of response. Twenty-three of the 37 patients (62%) were proven to be complete responders with negative biopsies. Twenty-four patients have relapsed, 6 with stage IIIA, 16 with IIIB, and 2 with stage IV. Five patients have had locoregional relapses alone, 4 locoregional and distant, and 15 distant alone. Median time to progression is 35.9 months for stage IIIA and 34.2 months for stage IIIB. Median survival is 35.3 months for stage IIIB and is indeterminate for stage IIIA. This aggressive primary chemotherapy regimen with hormonal synchronization followed by local therapy appears to provide excellent control and encouraging early results on systemic disease control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3889-3894
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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