Primary (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy with docetaxel in breast cancer.

W. J. Gradishar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The use of primary or neoadjuvant chemotherapy for locally advanced breast cancer, including those patients with inflammatory breast cancer, is well established. The use of primary chemotherapy has also been investigated in patients with operable breast cancer. The potential benefit of using primary chemotherapy is the opportunity to administer systemic therapy at an earlier timepoint, where it may be more effective against microscopic disease. In addition, primary chemotherapy for patients with operable breast cancer may also result in higher rates of breast conservation, axillary nodal downstaging, and potential improvement in patient outcome. A variety of different chemotherapy drugs have been evaluated in the primary chemotherapy setting. One of the most common approaches is to use an anthracycline-based regimen for 4 or more cycles of treatment before considering definitive local therapy. Although high tumor response rates have been reported using anthracycline-based regimens, the fraction of patients actually attaining a pathologic complete response has remained small (less than 20%). With the introduction of new chemotherapy drugs, such as docetaxel, which is associated with a very high tumor response rate in metastatic disease, a natural evolution of clinical investigation is to use docetaxel in the neoadjuvant or primary chemotherapy setting. Some of the recent trials that have evaluated single-agent docetaxel, docetaxel-based chemotherapy combinations, and novel sequencing strategies that include docetaxel in the neoadjuvant setting are reviewed. The results from these trials clearly suggest that docetaxel-containing treatment strategies can be considered a standard in the primary chemotherapy setting

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S31-35
JournalClinical breast cancer
Volume2 Suppl 1
StatePublished - Oct 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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