Seventeen patients with stage III breast cancer were treated by modified radical mastectomy preceded and followed by multiagent cytotoxic chemotherapy. The preoperative treatment resulted in a decrease in size of the primary tumor, facilitating the subsequent surgical procedure. There were no serious surgical complications. Wound healing was uneventful. Median disease-free survival time was 29 months and median survival time was 40+ months. Six of the 17 patients are living free of recurrence from more than 33 to more than 79 months after initial therapy.