Chemo before Breast Cancer Operation Increases Likelihood of Breast-Preserving Procedure

“Patients with larger malignant tumors of the breast who undergo chemotherapy before a breast cancer operation are more likely to opt for a breast-preserving procedure and forgo a mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast), according to a new study published online as an “article in press” in the journal of the american college of surgeons. the study will appear in a print edition of the Journal this spring.

“Study investigators from Yale University School of Medicine and Yale University Comprehensive Cancer Center, New Haven, Conn. also determined that rates of chemotherapy before breast operations, known as neoadjuvant therapy, had increased significantly through the five-year study period, possibly because the FDA had approved better chemotherapy drugs.

“Lead investigator general surgeon, Brigid K. Killelea, MD, MPH, FACS, called the study results ‘very exciting.’ It is one of the largest studies to date on the use of chemotherapy before surgical treatment for breast cancer.

” ‘We’ve seen data published from clinical trials showing that neoadjuvant chemotherapy results in increased lumpectomy rates but this is really one of the first studies using a large national database that reflects what is also going on in the community hospital setting,’ she said. (During a lumpectomy procedure only the tumor and surrounding tissue is removed, leaving the rest of the breast tissue intact.)”