I've seen this term neoadjuvant therapy tossed around from time to time. Most recently, a couple of mentions of Tamoxifen given before surgery sort of slipped by me. (My DCIS was small enough for lumpectomy, and I didn't need restoration.) I didn't find anything in the Mayo Clinic Cancer Book except an incomplete definition.
This week I followed a link to the (AACR) American Assn. for Cancer Research Cancer Progress Report 2014. (If you're still awake after all that, here are some excerpts.)
From the report Glossary: Neoadjuvant therapy
Treatment given to shrink a patient’s
tumor prior to treatment that is intended to be curative,
which usually includes surgery. Neoadjuvant therapy may be
chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, targeted
therapy, and/or biological therapy.
"...the FDA outlined a new path for
regulatory approval of breast cancer therapeutics in May
2012 (107) "
Then they send us to a sidebar that tells us many patients are treated with traditional chemo or molecular therapy chemo to reduce the size of the tumor so that it is operable, allowing breast restoration.
If there is no residual invasive cancer afterword, they mention a correlation with long-term survival. Judging by the title of the sidebar, the FDA is using likelihood of overall survival to make their decision to approve new neoadjuvant treatments.
Disclaimer: I am a patient, not a scientist. This is what I got from the report, and I do not hold the AACR as the top source for this or other information.
I wish you health.