The treatment of locally advanced breast cancer is aimed at achieving long-term local control with local surgery and/or radiation therapy and at improving disease-free and overall survival through the application of systemic cytotoxic chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. Studies of local therapy alone with surgery or radiotherapy have demonstrated high rates of local recurrence and low rates of long-term survival. The application of anthracycline-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy has resulted in rates of response ranging from 72% to 97%, clinical complete responses of 12-52%, and pathologic complete responses of 4-33%. Multidisciplinary treatment with neoadjuvant therapy, followed by local surgery and/or radiation therapy, followed by additional chemotherapy, has resulted in rates of local control that exceed 80%, and 5-year survival rates exceeding 50% are not unusual. The use of anthracycline-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the treatment of locally advanced breast cancer is thus now firmly established. Research in the treatment of locally advanced breast cancer is needed to further define the optimal method of local therapy and the role of new agents such as the taxanes.