Purpose: To evaluate the opinion of surgical and medical oncologists on neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) for early breast cancer.
Methods: Surgical and medical oncologists (N = 292) participating in breast cancer care in the Netherlands were invited for a 20-question survey on the influence of patient, disease, and management related factors on their decisions towards NAC.
Results: A total of 138 surgical and medical oncologists from 64 out of 89 different Dutch hospitals completed the survey. NAC was recommended for locally advanced breast cancer (94%) and for downstaging to enable breast conserving surgery (BCS) (75%). Despite willingness to downstage, 64% of clinicians routinely recommended NAC when systemic therapy was indicated preoperatively. Reported reasons to refrain from NAC are comorbidities (68%), age >70 years (52%), and WHO-performance status ≥2 (93%). Opinions on NAC and surgical management were inconclusive; while 75% recommends NAC to enable BCS, some stated that BCS after NAC increases the risk of a non-radical resection (21%), surgical complications (9%) and recurrence of disease (5%).
Conclusion: This article emphasizes the need for more consensus among specialists on the indications for NAC in early BC patients. Unambiguous and evidence-based treatment information could improve doctor-patient communication, supporting the patient in chemotherapy timing decision-making.
- Early breast cancer
- Experts’ opinions
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC)