Optimizing neoadjuvant chemotherapy regimens is essential for achieving maximal pathological complete response (pCR) in patients with breast cancer. pCR is usually considered as a surrogate marker for survival. The aim of this study was to analyze pCR with respect to various neoadjuvant regimens and its effect on survival.Methods:
This retrospective analysis included 377 patients with stages II and III breast cancer treated between 1998 and 2009 with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Neoadjuvant regimens were analyzed with respect to pCR, disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS).Results:
The median age of our population was 50 years with the majority being premenopausal and locally advanced. The overall pCR rate was 13.7% with higher rates seen in patients receiving combination of anthracyclines and taxanes (14.2%). The practice of sandwiching surgery and chemotherapy was inferior to true neoadjuvant chemotherapy of eight cycles. Addition of trastuzumab to Her2 positive patients resulted in higher pCR rates (P = 0.006). Achievement of pCR with neoadjuvant chemotherapy resulted in significantly higher DFS and OS.Conclusion:
pCR is associated with better survival in breast cancer patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Initial anthracycline-based chemotherapy followed by non-cross-resistant taxane-based chemotherapy along with the addition of trastuzumab in Her2 positive patients might be the optimal neoadjuvant regimen in breast cancer patients.