Systemic Therapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer

What the Plastic Surgeon Should Know

Chad M. Teven, MD; Daniel B. Schmid, MD; Mark Sisco, MD; James Ward, MD; Michael A. Howard, MD


ePlasty. 2017;17(e7) 

In This Article


A review of the literature on PubMed and Cochrane databases was undertaken to define the indications and common regimens of systemic therapy in early-stage breast cancer. In addition, literature describing relevant information regarding specific systemic agents was reviewed. This article was also informed by the authors' regular and ongoing interaction with numerous members of the multidisciplinary breast cancer treatment team at our institution. Such interactions occur frequently during the care of a patient with breast cancer, whether in clinic, at the bedside, and as part of multidisciplinary tumor board conferences. In these discussions, suggestions regarding appropriate treatments are made by each specialty, including medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, and plastic surgeons. After consideration of these suggestions in relation to a specific patient and her needs and desires, a consensus is reached on the most appropriate course. On the basis of this review and our own experience, we present here an overview of systemic therapy-based treatment strategies and recommendations for patients with early-stage breast cancer. Finally, we consider how such treatments may affect and be affected by breast reconstruction.