A study looking at predicting how well chemotherapy before surgery will work for breast cancer (NEO study)

Cancer type:

Breast cancer





This study is looking at a way of trying to tell in advance how well breast cancer is likely to respond to chemotherapy before surgery.

Doctors often treat breast cancer with chemotherapy before surgery. This is to shrink the cancer so you can have a smaller operation to remove it. We know from research that most cancers respond well to chemotherapy. But unfortunately some don’t. If doctors could tell earlier whether chemotherapy was working or not, some women would be able to avoid having treatment that would not help them.

The researchers will take samples of your cancer and blood samples before you start treatment and during treatment. They will look for genes Open a glossary item and proteins in the samples to find out which cancers respond to chemotherapy. They think that by doing this, they may be able to tell very early in treatment if the cancer is responding or not.

The aim of this study is to find a way of predicting very early in chemotherapy whose cancer is responding.

You will not have any direct benefit from taking part in this study. But the results will be used to help improve treatment for people with breast cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You can join this study if all of the following apply. You

  • Are a woman with breast cancer
  • Are to have chemotherapy before having surgery to remove your cancer
  • Are between 18 and 75 years old

You cannot join this study if any of these apply. You

  • Are not able to have chemotherapy
  • Have another cancer
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

The researchers need 100 women who go to the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh to join the study.

You have a sample of your cancer and blood samples taken

  • Before starting chemotherapy
  • About 2 weeks after starting chemotherapy
  • Half way through your chemotherapy

You also give a blood sample at the end of your chemotherapy. The surgeon will take another cancer tissue sample when you have your operation.

Hospital visits

There are no extra hospital visits if you take part in this study.

Side effects

You may have some bruising and discomfort from where they take the blood and cancer tissue samples.



Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Olga Oikonomidou

Supported by

NHS Lothian
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Harriet wanted to try new treatments

A picture of Harriet

“I was keen to go on a clinical trial. I wanted to try new cancer treatments and hopefully help future generations.”

Last reviewed:

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