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J Clin Oncol. 1998 Aug;16(8):2672-85.

Effect of preoperative chemotherapy on the outcome of women with operable breast cancer.

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  • 1National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project Operations and Biostatistical Centers, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. bfisher@aherf.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To determine, in women with primary operable breast cancer, if preoperative doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan; AC) therapy yields a better outcome than postoperative AC therapy, if a relationship exists between outcome and tumor response to preoperative chemotherapy, and if such therapy results in the performance of more lumpectomies.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Women (1,523) enrolled onto National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) B-18 were randomly assigned to preoperative or postoperative AC therapy. Clinical tumor response to preoperative therapy was graded as complete (cCR), partial (cPR), or no response (cNR). Tumors with a cCR were further categorized as either pathologic complete response (pCR) or invasive cells (pINV). Disease-free survival (DFS), distant disease-free survival (DDFS), and survival were estimated through 5 years and compared between treatment groups. In the preoperative arm, proportional-hazards models were used to investigate the relationship between outcome and tumor response.

RESULTS:

There was no significant difference in DFS, DDFS, or survival (P = .99, .70, and .83, respectively) among patients in either group. More patients treated preoperatively than postoperatively underwent lumpectomy and radiation therapy (67.8% v 59.8%, respectively). Rates of ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence (IBTR) after lumpectomy were similar in both groups (7.9% and 5.8%, respectively; P = .23). Outcome was better in women whose tumors showed a pCR than in those with a pINV, cPR, or cNR (relapse-free survival [RFS] rates, 85.7%, 76.9%, 68.1%, and 63.9%, respectively; P < .0001), even when baseline prognostic variables were controlled. When prognostic models were compared for each treatment group, the preoperative model, which included breast tumor response as a variable, discriminated outcome among patients to about the same degree as the postoperative model.

CONCLUSION:

Preoperative chemotherapy is as effective as postoperative chemotherapy, permits more lumpectomies, is appropriate for the treatment of certain patients with stages I and II disease, and can be used to study breast cancer biology. Tumor response to preoperative chemotherapy correlates with outcome and could be a surrogate for evaluating the effect of chemotherapy on micrometastases; however, knowledge of such a response provided little prognostic information beyond that which resulted from postoperative therapy.

PMID:
9704717
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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