Skip to main content

Neoadjuvant therapy with cisplatin in BRCA1-positive breast cancer patients


Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is administered to control disease, make surgical resection possible and increase the possibility of breast tissue conservation. A further advantage of neoadjuvant therapy is that it helps to assess chemo-sensitivity to a particular agent. Induction of a pathological complete response (pCR) is one of the primary goals of neoadjuvant therapy in order to achieve a better disease-free and overall survival. Experimental data suggest that BRCA1 related breast cancer may have increased sensitivity to platinum-based chemotherapy, but clinical data are limited. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of complete pathologic response after neo-adjuvant treatment with cisplatin chemotherapy in women with breast cancer and a BRCA1 mutation.


Twenty five women with breast cancer and a BRCA1 mutation with stage I, II, and III breast cancer between December 2006 and July 2009 were entered into this study. Patients were treated with cisplatin 75 mg/m2 intravenously every three weeks for four cycles. After chemotherapy, patients underwent surgery and were assessed for pathologic response in both the breast and axillary lymph nodes. Complete pathologic response was defined as no residual invasive disease in both the breast and axilla, however ductal carcinoma in situ was allowed.


Thirty eight patients were enrolled in the study. Twenty three patients had tumors of greater than two centimeters (60%) and eleven patients had positive lymph nodes at diagnosis (29%). Thirty five patients completed four cycles of cisplatin (92%) and three patients completed two cycles (8%). Clinical complete response was observed in twenty eight patients (74%). Pathologic complete response was observed in twenty three (60,5%).


Platinum-based chemotherapy is effective in a high proportion of patients with BRCA1-associated breast cancers. Clinical trials are warranted to determine the optimum treatment for this subgroup of breast cancer patients.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to T Byrski.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Byrski, T., Gronwald, J., Huzarski, T. et al. Neoadjuvant therapy with cisplatin in BRCA1-positive breast cancer patients. Hered Cancer Clin Pract 9, A4 (2011).

Download citation


  • Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer Patient
  • BRCA1 Mutation
  • Clinical Complete Response
  • Related Breast