Minimally Invasive Breast Biopsy After Neoadjuvant Systemic Treatment to Identify Breast Cancer Patients with Residual Disease for Extended Neoadjuvant Treatment: A New Concept

André Pfob*, Lie Cai, Andreas Schneeweiss, Geraldine Rauch, Bettina Thomas, Benedikt Schaefgen, Sherko Kuemmel, Toralf Reimer, Markus Hahn, Marc Thill, Jens Uwe Blohmer, John Hackmann, Wolfram Malter, Inga Bekes, Kay Friedrichs, Sebastian Wojcinski, Sylvie Joos, Stefan Paepke, Tom Degenhardt, Joachim RomAchim Rody, Marion van Mackelenbergh, Maggie Banys-Paluchowski, Regina Große, Mattea Reinisch, Maria Margarete Karsten, Chris Sidey-Gibbons, Markus Wallwiener, Michael Golatta, Joerg Heil

*Corresponding author for this work


Background: Breast cancer patients with residual disease after neoadjuvant systemic treatment (NAST) have a worse prognosis compared with those achieving a pathologic complete response (pCR). Earlier identification of these patients might allow timely, extended neoadjuvant treatment strategies. We explored the feasibility of a vacuum-assisted biopsy (VAB) after NAST to identify patients with residual disease (ypT+ or ypN+) prior to surgery. Methods: We used data from a multicenter trial, collected at 21 study sites (NCT02948764). The trial included women with cT1-3, cN0/+ breast cancer undergoing routine post-neoadjuvant imaging (ultrasound, MRI, mammography) and VAB prior to surgery. We compared the findings of VAB and routine imaging with the histopathologic evaluation of the surgical specimen. Results: Of 398 patients, 34 patients with missing ypN status and 127 patients with luminal tumors were excluded. Among the remaining 237 patients, tumor cells in the VAB indicated a surgical non-pCR in all patients (73/73, positive predictive value [PPV] 100%), whereas PPV of routine imaging after NAST was 56.0% (75/134). Sensitivity of the VAB was 72.3% (73/101), and 74.3% for sensitivity of imaging (75/101). Conclusion: Residual cancer found in a VAB specimen after NAST always corresponds to non-pCR. Residual cancer assumed on routine imaging after NAST corresponds to actual residual cancer in about half of patients. Response assessment by VAB is not safe for the exclusion of residual cancer. Response assessment by biopsies after NAST may allow studying the new concept of extended neoadjuvant treatment for patients with residual disease in future trials.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)957-965
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 02.2024

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-14 Haematology, Oncology
  • 205-21 Gynaecology and Obstetrics

Cite this