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Skip Navigation LinksHome > March 2005 - Volume 98 - Issue 3 > Neoadjuvant Therapy: An Emerging Concept in Oncology
Southern Medical Journal:
Review Article

Neoadjuvant Therapy: An Emerging Concept in Oncology

Tanvetyanon, Tawee MD; Clark, Joseph I. MD; Campbell, Steve C. MD, PHD; Lo, Simon S.

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Abstract

Neoadjuvant therapy, an adjunctive therapy given before the main therapy, has become an integral part of modern multidisciplinary cancer management. Organized by the primary organ involved by cancer, this review summarizes the outcomes of neoadjuvant therapy for common malignant solid tumors, based on large, randomized, controlled trials. In locally advanced rectal, laryngeal, and breast cancer, neoadjuvant therapy enables organ preservation; however, it does not improve overall survival when compared with definitive treatment followed by adjuvant therapy. In locally advanced bladder and cervical cancer, patients who undergo neoadjuvant therapy before radical surgery appear to have better survival than those receiving definitive therapy alone; however, it is unclear if the neoadjuvant approach will be superior to definitive therapy followed by adjuvant therapy. To date, the survival benefits of neoadjuvant therapy for resectable non-small cell lung, esophageal, gastric, and prostate cancer remains under investigation.

Key Points

* In locally advanced resectable rectal, laryngeal, and breast cancer, neoadjuvant therapy enables organ preservation, but it does not improve overall survival.

* In locally advanced bladder and cervical cancer, patients who undergo neoadjuvant therapy before radical surgery appear to have better survival than those receiving definitive therapy alone.

* The survival benefits of neoadjuvant therapy for resectable non-small cell lung, esophageal, gastric, and prostate cancer remains under investigation.

© 2005 Southern Medical Association

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