Background: Locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) is common in developing countries and it frequently affects younger women. Patients do very poorly when treated by locoregional therapy alone; therefore, pre-operative systemic therapy (PST) is commonly used.
Materials and methods: Medical records of 64 Saudi patients with LABC treated with PST in a single institution were retrospectively reviewed.
Results: At diagnosis, most patients were young (median age 41 years), and had poor clinicopathological characteristics. Following surgery, complete pathologic response (pCR) in the breast was achieved in 13 patients (20%). Of 62 patients with known nodal status, 22 (34%) had negative axillary nodes. Presence of oestrogen receptor (ER) negative tumour was the only dependent variable that predicted pCR in the breast (p = 0.03). At a median follow-up of 42 months, the median progression-free survival (PFS) was 48 months (95% CI, 20–76 months) and the projected five-year overall survival (OS) was 68%. The recently published scoring system (Jeruss et al (2008) J Clin Oncol 26 2 246–52), was the only variable that independently influenced PFS, while ER negative tumours and presence of lymphovascular space invasion were the only factors that adversely affected OS.
Conclusions: despite the use of standard multi-modality approach in the management of patients with LABC, prognosis remains guarded.