Neoadjuvant chemotherapy in inoperable, locally advanced, and inflammatory breast carcinoma: A pilot study of MTT assay in vitro and outcome analysis of 10 patients

Jian Ming Xu, San Tai Song, Zhong Ming Tang, Ze Fei Jiang, Xiao Qing Liu, Jing Zhang, Xiu Wen Liu, Angelo Paradiso

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Patients with inoperable, locally advanced, and inflammatory breast carcinoma (LAIBC), whether with supraclavicular lymph nodes (SLN) or not (stage IIIB and IV), usually carry an overall poor prognosis. The current treatment for these patients is by means of combined modality, including preoperative chemotherapy. This strategy has led to a substantial improvement in clinical response, making some patients operable, and even making breast conservative surgery possible. However, the long-term results still are not promising. The aim of this pilot study was to determine the efficacy of 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay in vitro in directing chemotherapy (including preoperative adjuvant chemotherapy and postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy) for these patients. Between June 1994 and March 1997, 10 patients with inoperable LAIBC, whether with SLN or not, were enrolled. During the period of the combined therapy modalities, the neoadjuvant chemotherapy was adopted for three cycles according to the results of chemosensitivity in vitro by MTT assay. Then a modified radical or radical mastectomy was performed, which was followed by radiotherapy and further postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy with the same regimen as that of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. All patients had been followed up from the beginning of neoadjuvant chemotherapy to the end of October 1999. Two patients had clinical complete response (CRs), with one having pathologic CR in both breast tumor and axillary lymph node, and the other having pathologic CR in axillary lymph node. The other eight patients had partial response. By the time of analysis, six patients had been dead of relapse or progression. Among the four patients who were still alive, one had local relapse, one had distant metastatic disease, and the other two had no evident disease. By retrieving from MEDLINE before 1999, the authors learned that this is the first pilot study of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for inoperable LAIBC using MTT assay to predict the chemosensitivity in vitro. Compared with conventional chemotherapy, the clinical response and long-term results seem to be more encouraging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-263
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Chemosensitivity in vitro
  • Locally advanced breast carcinoma
  • MTT assay
  • Neoadjuvant chemotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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