Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Does Timing of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Affect Outcomes in Early-Stage Breast Cancer?

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2020

For patients with early-stage invasive primary breast cancer, delaying treatment with neoadjuvant systemic chemotherapy for more than 61 days may significantly increase the risk of death, according to a study published in The Oncologist. Therefore, “multidisciplinary teams must focus on coordination of care and patient-centered, timely treatment planning and delivery,” explained Mariana Chavez-MacGregor, MD, MSC, of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, and colleagues.

From 1995 to 2015, a total of 5,137 patients with invasive primary breast cancer were enrolled in the study. All patients received neoadjuvant systemic chemotherapy at MD Anderson. Patients were assigned to different subgroups based on the duration of time between their diagnosis and treatment: 0 to 30 days, 31 to 60 days, or more than 60 days.

The study findings revealed a 5-year overall survival rate for patients who received neoadjuvant systemic chemotherapy for 0 to 30 days, 31 to 60 days, or more than 60 days of 87%, 85%, and 83%, respectively. In addition, patients who received neoadjuvant systemic chemotherapy more than 60 days after diagnosis had a significantly increased risk of death compared with patients in the 0-to-30-day group (hazard ratio = 1.28). This increased risk of death was identified for patients with stage 1 (hazard ratio = 1.22) and stage 2 (hazard ratio = 1.41) breast cancer, as well as for patients with HER2-positive tumors (hazard ratio = 1.86).

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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