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J Clin Oncol. 2008 Mar 10;26(8):1275-81. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.14.4147. Epub 2008 Feb 4.

Response to neoadjuvant therapy and long-term survival in patients with triple-negative breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Breast Medical Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030-1439, USA.



Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is defined by the lack of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) expression. In this study, we compared response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and survival between patients with TNBC and non-TNBC.


Analysis of a prospectively collected clinical database was performed. We included 1,118 patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for stage I-III breast cancer from 1985 to 2004 and for whom complete receptor information were available. Clinical and pathologic parameters, pathologic complete response rates (pCR), survival measurements, and organ-specific relapse rates were compared between patients with TNBC and non-TNBC.


Two hundred fifty-five patients (23%) had TNBC. Patients with TNBC compared with non-TNBC had significantly higher pCR rates (22% v 11%; P = .034), but decreased 3-year progression-free survival rates (P < .0001) and 3-year overall survival (OS) rates (P < .0001). TNBC was associated with increased risk for visceral metastases (P = .0005), lower risk for bone recurrence (P = .027), and shorter postrecurrence survival (P < .0001). Recurrence and death rates were higher for TNBC only in the first 3 years. If pCR was achieved, patients with TNBC and non-TNBC had similar survival (P = .24). In contrast, patients with residual disease (RD) had worse OS if they had TNBC compared with non-TNBC (P < .0001).


Patients with TNBC have increased pCR rates compared with non-TNBC, and those with pCR have excellent survival. However, patients with RD after neoadjuvant chemotherapy have significantly worse survival if they have TNBC compared with non-TNBC, particularly in the first 3 years.

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