Neoadjuvant endocrine treatment in which therapy is given while the primary tumour is still in the breast provides a highly useful model system by which to identify mechanisms associated with de novo resistance and signs of early acquired resistance. Most importantly, the model is clinically relevant. It has been confirmed that the absence of tumour oestrogen receptors confers resistance to endocrine therapy. Early changes in tumour cell proliferation following neoadjuvant treatment with the third-generation aromatase inhibitor, letrozole, do not predict accurately for subsequent clinical response. Additionally, changes in proliferation seen at later times can be the consequence of response and may be associated with early resistance. High expression of c-erbB2 does not reduce tumour responses to neoadjuvant treatment with aromatase inhibitors, but is associated with high tumour proliferation before and during treatment. It remains to be determined whether these characteristics confer subsequent resistance to treatment and early relapse in the adjuvant setting.
- Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
- Breast Neoplasms
- Neoadjuvant Therapy
- Receptor, erbB-2
- Signal Transduction