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Radiother Oncol. 1997 Mar;42(3):219-29.

Primary chemotherapy and preoperative irradiation for patients with stage II larger than 3 cm or locally advanced non-inflammatory breast cancer.

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Service d'Oncologie-Radiothérapie, hôpital Tenon, Paris, France.



To evaluate possibility of breast-conserving therapy and outcome for patients with locally advanced non-inflammatory breast cancer (LABC) and stage II >3 cm in diameter after primary chemotherapy (CT) followed by external preoperative irradiation (RT).


Between 1982 and 1990, 147 patients were treated by four courses of induction CT (doxorubicin, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, 5-fluorouracil) followed by preoperative RT (45 Gy to the breast and nodal areas) and a fifth course of CT. Three different loco-regional approaches were proposed depending on tumour characteristics and tumour response. After completion of local therapy, all patients received a sixth course of CT and a maintenance adjuvant CT regimen without anthracycline.


Mastectomy and axillary dissection were performed in 52 patients, and conservative treatment in 95 patients (48 achieved complete remission and received additional radiation boost to initial tumour bed; 47 had a residual mass < or =3 cm in diameter and were treated by wide excision and axillary dissection followed by a boost to the excision site. Ten-year actuarial loco-regional failure rate was 20% after RT alone, 23% after wide excision and RT and 6% after mastectomy (P = 0.85). After multivariate analysis, possibility of breast-conserving therapy was related to initial tumour size. Ten-year overall survival rate was 66%; it was not influenced by local treatment (conservative vs. non-conservative local treatment, P = 0.89). However, local failure significantly decreased overall survival (P < 0.0001). After multivariate analysis, tumour response after induction CT and clinical stage had a significant impact on survival.


The present data indicate that induction CT followed by preoperative RT may permit the selection of some patients with LABC or stage II >3 cm for conservative treatment. The impact of this treatment modality on long term survival remains to be established.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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