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BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to determine the optimal scheduling of 2.5 mg daily letrozole in neoadjuvant breast cancer patients to obtain pathological complete response (pathCR) and assess Ki-67 expression as an early predictor of response. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This single institution study comprised 120 oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive postmenopausal women with primary breast cancer (clinical stage ≥ T2, N0-1), from three sequential cohorts (cohort A of 40, cohort B of 40 and cohort C of 40 patients, respectively) based on different duration of the neoadjuvant letrozole. Biological markers such as ER, progesterone receptor, HER2 and Ki-67 expression were tested at diagnosis and at definitive surgery. RESULTS: A total of 89 patients (75.4%) achieved an objective response with 44 (37.3%) clinical CRs and 45 (38.1%) partial responses. The clinical CRs were significantly observed in cohort C (23 out of 40 patients, 57.5%) and B (16 out of 38 patients, 42.1%) compared with cohort A (5 out of 40 patients, 12.5%) (P-value for trend <0.001). Letrozole induced a similar significant reduction in Ki-67 index after treatment in all cohorts. The pathCR rate was significantly more frequent in cohort C (7 out of 40 patients, 17.5%) than in cohort A (1 out of 40 patients, 2.5%) and B (2 out of 40 patients, 5.0%) (P-value for trend <0.04). CONCLUSION: One-year neoadjuvant letrozole therapy leads to a higher pathCR rate and may be the optimal length of drug exposure.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/bjc.2013.151

Type

Journal article

Journal

Br j cancer

Publication Date

30/04/2013

Volume

108

Pages

1587 - 1592

Keywords

Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Antineoplastic Agents, Aromatase Inhibitors, Breast Neoplasms, Chemotherapy, Adjuvant, Cohort Studies, Drug Administration Schedule, Female, Humans, Ki-67 Antigen, Neoadjuvant Therapy, Nitriles, Receptors, Estrogen, Receptors, Progesterone, Triazoles