Neoadjuvant treatment of breast cancer refers to the use of different treatment modalities prior to surgical excision of the tumor. It has been accepted as a treatment option for patients with nonmetastatic disease, because it renders inoperable tumors operable and increases the rates of breast-conserving surgery, while achieving similar long-term clinical outcomes as adjuvant treatment. The neoadjuvant setting is being increasingly perceived as a research platform, where the biologic effects of traditional anticancer agents can be delineated, prognostic and predictive biomarkers can be identified, and the development of targeted agents can be expedited. Surrogate endpoints that can predict long-term clinical outcome and are evaluable early on, such as the pathologic complete response, offer valuable opportunities for rapid assessment of anticancer agents. Additionally, efforts for molecular profiling of the post-neoadjuvant residual disease hold the potential to lead to personalized therapy for breast cancer patients with early-stage high-risk disease.


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