Preoperative chemotherapy alone and combined with preoperative radiotherapy in small-size breast cancer

Franco Rilke, Umberto Veronesi, Alberto Luini, Cristina Brambilla, Viviana Galimberti, Stefano Zurrida, Silvana Pilotti, Silvana Di Palma, Roberto Zucali, Laura Lozza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Breast conservation surgery is an effective and safe treatment for many breast carcinomas. It may be possible to further limit the extent of resection (or expand the indication for breast conservation) by the application of preoperative chemotherapy and radiotherapy. We explored the feasibility of this in a pilot study. Seventy-three patients (mean age 48, 63% premenopausal) with confirmed breast cancer, less than 2.5 cm, received chemotherapy (Group A) or chemotherapy plus radiotherapy (Group B) prior to limited resection (tumorectomy). Axillary dissection was always performed. Results: In 6/31 (19%) Group A and 17/42 (40%) Group B patients the tumor was not palpable after preoperative treatment, with complete pathological remission in 1 and 3 cases respectively. Histologic grading, mitosis, cellular alteration, and cellularity evaluations indicated a consistently greater therapeutic effect with chemoradiotherapy than with chemotherapy alone. In conclusion, radiotherapy appears useful in the preoperative treatment of breast cancer and its use in association with various drug combinations should be further explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-180
Number of pages5
JournalBreast Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Adjuvant chemotherapy
  • Adjuvant radiotherapy
  • Breast cancer
  • Conservative surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Oncology


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