Centre des maladies du sein, Hôpital Saint-Louis, 1 avenue Claude-Vellefaux, Paris 75010
Neodjuvant chemotherapy has been primitively used in locally advanced breast cancer. More recently, indications have been extended to operable lesions. Several randomized trials have compared preoperative chemotherapy with postoperative surgery. None of these studies with anthracyclines have shown benefit in terms of progression free survival and/or overall survival. The rate of breast-conservative surgery seems slightly increased. However, in the NSABP 18 study, there was also a marginally significant increase in local recurrence when patients were converted from mastectomy lumpectomy to as originally planned. The introduction of taxanes in neoadjuvant chemotherapy protocol leads to a better clinical response and a complete histological responses increase when docetaxel is used. In only one study using docetaxel after anthracyclin treatment, a survival benefit is reported but it is a small study; a longer follow up and the updated results of the NSABP B27 trial are needed to confirm the impact of taxotere in the outcome of breast cancer. The integration of trastuzumab with taxane based chemotherapy has already shown high rate of histological complete responses. At least, neoadjuvant chemotherapy has the advantage to study biologic predictive factors of chemotherapy response. This article will review data on standard therapeutic and new agents in neoadjuvant treatment.