Review
. 2014 Sep;9(3).
doi: 10.1159/000363755.

Chemotherapy in early breast cancer: when, how and which one?

Marcus Schmidt 1 
Affiliations
  • PMID: 25177256
  •     33 References
  •     6 citations

Abstract

The efficacy of chemotherapy depends on the level of risk of the individual patient. Because of this, careful estimation of the risk level is mandatory. In addition to well-established clinicopathological factors, validated gene expression signatures might be useful in selected patients if all other criteria are inconclusive for therapeutic decision-making. If indicated, chemotherapy can be used either after surgery (adjuvant) or before surgery (neoadjuvant). Both approaches lead to comparable long-term survival. The neoadjuvant setting offers the additional opportunity for elaborate translational studies to develop and validate predictive biomarkers and to discover mechanisms of resistance to therapy. If possible, chemotherapy regimens should include both anthracyclines and taxanes. Docetaxel should be used every 3 weeks; better tolerability with equivalent efficacy favors the concurrent over the sequential approach. Paclitaxel, on the other hand, should be administered sequentially, either weekly or every 2 weeks. Especially, intense dose-dense sequential chemotherapy with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor support is very effective in high-risk breast cancer patients. In order to decrease toxicities, anthracycline-free regimens or a shortening of the duration of adjuvant chemotherapy are potential options that should be further explored.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Prognosis.

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