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Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for triple-negative and Her2 +ve breast cancer: striving for the standard of care


Purpose — Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) for triple-negative (TN) and Her2-positive (HER2) breast cancers is supported by international guidelines as it can decrease extent of surgery, provide prognostic information, and allow response-driven adjuvant therapies. Our goal was to describe practice patterns for patients with TN and HER2-positive breast cancer and identify the factors associated with the receipt of NAC versus surgery as initial treatment.

Methods — A retrospective population-based cohort study of adult women diagnosed with stage I–III TN or HER2-positive breast cancer (2012–2020) in Ontario was completed using linked administrative datasets. The primary outcome was NAC as first treatment. The association between NAC and patient, tumor, and practice-related factors was examined using multivariable logistic regression models.

Results — Of 14,653 patients included, 23.9% (n = 3500) underwent NAC as first treatment. Patients who underwent NAC were more likely to be younger and have larger tumors, node-positive disease, and stage 3 disease. Of patients who underwent surgery first, 8.8% were seen by a medical oncologist prior to surgery. On multivariable analysis, increasing tumor size (T2 vs T1/T0: 2.75 (2.31–3.28)) and node-positive (N1 vs N0: OR 3.54 (2.92–4.30)) disease were both associated increased odds of receiving NAC.

Conclusion — A considerable proportion of patients with TN and HER2-positive breast cancer do not receive NAC as first treatment. Of those, most were not assessed by both a surgeon and medical oncologist prior to initiating therapy. This points toward potential gaps in multidisciplinary assessment and disparities in receipt of guideline-concordant care.



Roberts A, Hallet J, Nguyen L, Coburn N, Wright FC, Gandhi S, Jerzak K, Eisen A, Look Hong NJ. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2024; Apr 27 [Epub ahead of print].

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