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Inga T. Lennes, Mara Bloom, Nie Bohlen and Beverly Moy

As part of Massachusetts General Hospital’s overall quality improvement program, the Massachusetts General Hospital Breast Oncology Program participated in the NCCN Breast Cancer Outcomes Database Opportunities for Improvement Program. A review of concordance to breast oncology quality measures revealed that a small proportion of patients with breast cancer started chemotherapy more than 120 days after diagnosis. Therefore, the research team designed a quality improvement project to increase the percentage of concordance with the ASCO quality measure that requires time to treatment of less than 120 days and to decrease the number weeks from last definitive surgery to first adjuvant chemotherapy by 2014. A multipronged approach of improvements was used: to systems and infrastructure, communication among providers, and recruitment of additional staff as needed. This article describes the project and future initiatives to further improve the quality of breast cancer care at the institution.

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Laura Spring, Rachel Greenup, Andrzej Niemierko, Lidia Schapira, Stephanie Haddad, Rachel Jimenez, Suzanne Coopey, Alphonse Taghian, Kevin S. Hughes, Steven J. Isakoff, Leif W. Ellisen, Barbara L. Smith, Michelle Specht, Beverly Moy and Aditya Bardia

Purpose: Breast cancer in young women is associated with an aggressive tumor biology and higher risk of recurrence. Pathologic complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant therapy has been shown to be a surrogate marker for disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS), but the association between pCR and survival outcomes in young women with breast cancer is not well described. Methods: This study included women aged ≤40 years at diagnosis who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) for stage II–III invasive breast cancer between 1998 and 2014 at Massachusetts General Hospital. Outcomes were compared between patients who achieved pCR (ypT0/is, ypN0) and those with residual disease. Results: A total of 170 young women were included in the analytical data set, of which 53 (31.2%) achieved pCR after NAC. The 5-year DFS rate for patients with and without pCR was 91% versus 60%, respectively (P<.01), and the OS rate was 95% versus 75%, respectively (P<.01). Among patients with pCR, no difference was seen in OS irrespective of baseline clinical stage (P=.6), but among patients with residual disease after NAC, a significant difference in OS based on baseline clinical stage was observed (P<.001). Conclusions: Our results suggest pCR after NAC is strongly associated with significantly improved DFS and OS in young women with breast cancer, and perhaps even more so than baseline stage. However, the significantly higher mortality for patients who did not attain pCR highlights the need for better therapies, and the neoadjuvant trial design could potentially serve as an efficient method for rapid triage and escalation/de-escalation of therapies to improve outcomes for young women with breast cancer.