Aim: To identify breast cancer subtypes likely to respond to primary systemic therapy (PST or neoadjuvant therapy) and to assess the accuracy of physical examination (PE) and breast ultrasonography (US) in evaluating and predicting residual size of breast carcinoma following PST. Methods: 116 patients who received at least two cycles of PST between 1998 and 2009 were selected from a prospectively collected clinical database. Radiological assessment was done by mammography and US. Prior to PST, tumors were subclassified according to core biopsy (NCB) and/or fine-needle aspiration-based immunohistochemical profiles of NCB. Pathological response rates were assessed following the surgeries by using Chevallier classification. Tumor measurements by PE and US were obtained before and after PST. Different clinical measurements were compared with histological findings. Disease-free survival (DFS) was assessed. Results: Pathological complete remission (pCR = Chevallier I/II) was observed in 25 patients (21.5%), 44% of whom had triple negative histology, 28% Her2 positive and 76% had high-grade tumor. Of 116 patients, 24 received taxanebased PST, 48 combined taxane + anthracycline treatment, 8 trastuzumab combinations, 21 anthracycline-based treatments, and 15 other treatments. In the taxane treated group, the pCR rate was 30%, in the taxane + anthracycline group 25%, in the anthracycline group 9.5%, and in trastuzumab group 37.5%. After PST, PE and US were both significantly associated with pathology (P < 0.001 and P = 0.004, respectively). Concerning OS, significant difference was observed between the Chevallier III and IV group (P = 0.031) in favor of Chevallier III group. In the pCR group, fewer events were observed during the follow-up period. Conclusions: Our results show that even limited, routinely used immunohistochemical profiling of tumors can predict the likelihood of pCR to PST: patients with triple negative and Her2-positive cancers are more likely to achieve pCR to PST. Also, PE is better correlated with pathological findings than US.
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