Chemo Before Breast Cancer Surgery OK
Patients With Early-Stage Breast Cancer Should Discuss Options, Researchers Say
April 18, 2007 -- Getting chemotherapy before breast cancer surgery may help
some patients avoid mastectomy, according to a new research review.
Patients with early-stage breast cancer should talk to their doctors about
the risks and benefits of getting chemotherapy before breast cancer surgery,
note the researchers.
They included J.S.D. "Sven" Mieog of the surgery department at
Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, Netherlands.
The reviewed studies included a combined total of 5,500 women with
early-stage breast cancer in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Japan, U.K., Russia, and
The researchers randomly assigned the patients to get chemotherapy before or
after breast cancer surgery. The follow-up time varied among the studies,
ranging from 1.5 years to about 10 years.
Survival rates were similar for the presurgery and postsurgery chemotherapy
groups. That includes overall survival and survival without breast cancer's
However, the women who got chemotherapy before breast cancer surgery were
less likely to get mastectomy than those who had chemotherapy after breast
The review shows no increase in side effects with presurgery chemotherapy.
In fact, the presurgery chemotherapy patients were slightly less likely to have
serious infections during the studies.
The review appears online in The Cochrane Library.