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Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) increases breast conservation rates in patients with resectable breast cancer at the associated cost of higher locoregional recurrence rates; however, the magnitude of the survival benefits of NAC for these patients remains undefined. Therefore, we aimed to clarify the survival benefit of NAC versus postoperative chemotherapy by conducting an updated meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials (RCTs).The authors searched the Cochrane Library, PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Chinese biomedical literature database, and Chinese Scientific Journals full-text database from their inception to December 2016. The authors identified relevant RCTs that compared NAC with postoperative chemotherapy in the treatment of operable breast cancer. The main endpoints were overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS).: A total of 21 citations representing 16 unique studies were eligible. There were 787 deaths among 2794 patients assigned to NAC groups and 816 deaths among 2799 patients assigned to adjuvant chemotherapy groups. A meta-analysis of data indicated that there was no significant benefit in terms of OS ([hazard ratio [HR] = 1.03, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.94–1.13, P = .51) and RFS (HR = 1.01, 95% CI: 0.93–1.10, P = .80) between the NAC and postoperative chemotherapy groups. The pooled HR estimate for OS was not influenced by NAC cycles, the total number of chemotherapy cycles, administration of tamoxifen, administration of adjuvant chemotherapy, or type of NAC regimen. Subgroup analysis showed that the pooled HR estimate for RFS was influenced by anthracycline-containing regimens. Patients with a pathological complete response had superior survival outcomes compared with patients who had residual disease.The survival benefits for patients with operable breast cancer who received either NAC or adjuvant chemotherapy based on anthracycline regimens were comparable.