Neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer

Surg Clin North Am. 2013 Apr;93(2):493-9. doi: 10.1016/j.suc.2013.01.006. Epub 2013 Feb 11.


Randomized prospective trials have demonstrated that patients with early-stage breast cancer preferring breast conservation can benefit from neoadjuvant chemotherapy, achieving about a 25% complete and greater than 80% partial pathologic response. These responses do not translate into a survival advantage. For earlier stage patients, neoadjuvant chemotherapy's primary advantage is the ability to increase the use of breast conservation. Patients who opt for neoadjuvant chemotherapy should have a clinical and radiographic assessment of the axilla. The inability to predict the extent and pattern of response to chemotherapy requires that surgeons monitor patient response during neoadjuvant chemotherapy to provide optimal surgical planning.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Axilla
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Mastectomy, Segmental*
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor