Rate and predictors of nodal pathological complete response following neoadjuvant endocrine treatment in clinically biopsy-proven nodepositive breast cancer patients

R.J. Schipper*, A. de Bruijn, A.C. Voogd, J.G. Bloemen, Y.E. Van Riet, B.E.P. Vriens, M.L. Smidt, S. Siesling, M.J.C. van der Sangen, G.A.P. Nieuwenhuijzen

*Corresponding author for this work

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1 Citation (Web of Science)


Background: Data on effectiveness and optimal use of neoadjuvant endocrine therapy (NET) in clinically biopsy-proven node-positive breast cancer is lacking. This study examined the incidence of axillary pathological complete response (pCR) on NET in clinically biopsy-proven node-positive breast cancer patients. Secondary, patient and tumour characteristics, as well as the optimal duration of NET in relation to the occurrence of axillary pCR were investigated.Material and methods: Patients diagnosed with primary hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative breast cancer between 2014 and 2019, with at least one positive axillary lymph node (pathologically proven), treated with NET were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. The incidence of axillary pCR in combination with patient, tumour and treatment characteristics was analysed.Results: In a population of 561 patients, an axillary pCR of 7.3% on NET was observed. Median length of treatment was 8.1 months in the patients without vs. 8.8 months in those with axillary pCR, with no statistically significant difference. A p-value <0.30 was found for age, histologic type, clinical tumour status, hormone receptor status and the type of NET in univariable analysis. After multivariable logistic regression analyses, none of these variables were independently associated with the likelihood of an axillary pCR.Conclusion: The rate of axillary pCR after NET in HR thorn HER2-clinically biopsy-proven node-positive breast cancer patients is low. Factors independently associated with the likelihood of an axillary pCR could not be identified. More research is warranted regarding optimizing the duration of NET and the prognostic value of residual disease in the axilla after NET. (C) 2021 Elsevier Ltd, BASO similar to The Association for Cancer Surgery, and the European Society of Surgical Oncology. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1928-1933
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


  • Breast cancer
  • Neoadjuvant endocrine therapy
  • Clinical node-positive
  • Axillary complete response

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