Neoadjuvant treatment (before surgery) is aimed at shrinking the tumour so that it is possible or easier to remove surgically. This may improve surgery outcomes and help to conserve a patient’s breast.
Response to neoadjuvant treatment may also allow a doctor to quickly assess whether a medicine is working so treatment can be continued or adjusted accordingly.
In some patients, neoadjuvant therapy may shrink the tumour so much that no remaining cancer can be found in the tissue removed during surgery. When this happens, a patient achieves pathological complete response (pCR). This may provide additional insights into the prognosis of the disease.