Preoperative chemotherapy: Updates of national surgical adjuvant breast and bowel project protocols B-18 and B-27

Priya Rastogi, Stewart J. Anderson, Harry D. Bear, Charles E. Geyer, Morton S. Kahlenberg, André Robidoux, Richard G. Margolese, James L. Hoehn, Victor G. Vogel, Shaker R. Dakhil, Deimante Tamkus, Karen M. King, Eduardo R. Pajon, Mary Johanna Wright, Jean Robert, Soonmyung Paik, Eleftherios P. Mamounas, Norman Wolmark

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1175 Scopus citations


Purpose: National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) Protocol B-18 was designed to determine whether four cycles of doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (AC) administered preoperatively improved breast cancer disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) compared with AC administered postoperatively. Protocol B-27 was designed to determine the effect of adding docetaxel (T) to preoperative AC on tumor response rates, DFS, and OS. Patients and Methods: Analyses were limited to eligible patients. In B-18, 751 patients were assigned to receive preoperative AC, and 742 patients were assigned to receive postoperative AC. In B-27, 784 patients were assigned to receive preoperative AC followed by surgery, 783 patients were assigned to AC followed by T and surgery, and 777 patients were assigned to AC followed by surgery and then T. Results: Results from B-18 show no statistically significant differences in DFS and OS between the two groups. However, there were trends in favor of preoperative chemotherapy for DFS and OS in women less than 50 years old (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.85, P = .09 for DFS; HR = 0.81, P = .06 for OS). DFS conditional on being event free for 5 years also demonstrated a strong trend in favor of the preoperative group (HR = 0.81, P = .053). Protocol B-27 results demonstrated that the addition of T to AC did not significantly impact DFS or OS. Preoperative T added to AC significantly increased the proportion of patients having pathologic complete responses (pCRs) compared with preoperative AC alone (26% v 13%, respectively; P < .0001). In both studies, patients who achieved a pCR continue to have significantly superior DFS and OS outcomes compared with patients who did not. Conclusion: B-18 and B-27 demonstrate that preoperative therapy is equivalent to adjuvant therapy. B-27 also showed that the addition of preoperative taxanes to AC improves response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)778-785
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 2 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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