Pathological complete response and associated factors in breast cancer after neoadjuvant chemotherapy: A retrospective study

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Gündoğdu A., Uluşahin M., Çekiç A. B., Kazaz S. N., Güner A.

Turkish Journal of Surgery, vol.40, no.1, pp.73-81, 2024 (ESCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.47717/turkjsurg.2024.6308
  • Journal Name: Turkish Journal of Surgery
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.73-81
  • Keywords: Breast cancer, molecular subtypes, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, pathological complete response
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Objective: This study aimed to determine clinical and pathological factors that identify a pathological complete response (pCR) in breast cancer patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC). Material and Methods: A retrospective, single-center study was conducted in women over the age of 18 who had been diagnosed with pathologically confirmed invasive breast cancer and who had received NAC between July 2016 and October 2021. Patient demographics, clinical, radiological, treatment, and pathological data were reviewed from the electronic hospital records. The primary outcome of interest was pCR, defined as the absence of residual invasive breast cancer in both the breast and axillary lymph nodes. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with pCR. Results: A total of 119 patients were included in the analysis. The distribution of age was 54.5 ± 11.5 years. pCR was observed in 33 (27.7%) patients. pCR for breast tissue was observed in 43 (36.1%) patients. There was no statistically significant relation between the clinical stage and pCR. Age, age at first labor, extent of disease in the breast, NAC completeness, clinical tumor size (cT) stage, clinical lymph node (cN) stage, and molecular subtype were analyzed in a multivariable model. Analysis showed that molecular subtype was the only independent factor related to pCR. pCR rates across molecular subtypes were: 8.7% in luminal-A, 10.8% in luminal-B, 54.5% in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2)-positive, 42.4% in luminal-B (HER-2 positive) and 46.7% in triple-negative. There was no statistically significant difference between luminal-A and luminal-B subgroups (odds ratio 1.15, 95% confidence interval, 0.19-9.35, p= 0.881). Despite the limited number of patients in HER2-positive and triple-negative groups, both demonstrated statistically significant higher odds compared to reference group. Conclusion: The presented study underscores the relevance of molecular subtypes in determining the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. Particularly HER2-positive and triple-negative subtypes may demonstrate more favorable response rates.