Uncontrolled local disease after salvage treatment for ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence

Kristina Dalberg, Anette Liedberg, Ulla Johansson, Lars E Rutqvist
European Journal of Surgical Oncology 2003, 29 (2): 143-54

AIM: Uncontrolled local disease (ULD) following breast conservation constitutes a clinical problem with a major impact on quality of life. The current study analysed the outcome following treatment of ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence (IBTR) and the risk for ULD with the aim to identify risk factors for ULD.

METHODS: In a cohort of 5502 patients treated for invasive breast cancer Stage I-II with breast-conserving surgery 1976-1998 in Stockholm, 307 patients with subsequent IBTR were identified. The majority (n = 219) had received postoperative radiotherapy. Twenty-six per cent of the patients received adjuvant tamoxifen, for 2 or 5 years, and 9% received adjuvant polychemotherapy. Median follow-up time was 11(2-23) years. 50/307 patients developed ULD, defined as the appearance of clinically manifest invasive adenocarcinoma in the remaining breast or on the ipsilateral chest wall which could not be eradicated within 3 months of detection. Multivariate linear logistic regression was used in the statistical analysis to identify prognostic factors for ULD.

RESULTS: Five years following the diagnosis of IBTR the cumulative incidence of ULD was 13%. Five independent risk factors for ULD were identified; non-surgical treatment of IBTR, disseminated disease concurrent with IBTR, axillary lymph node metastases (at primary breast conservation), time < 3 years between breast conservation and IBTR, no adjuvant endocrine therapy. Eighty-eight per cent of the patients were treated with salvage mastectomy (n = 207) or re-excision (n = 62). The cumulative incidence at 5 years of ULD following salvage mastectomy and salvage re-excision were 10% and 16% respectively compared to 32% among patients treated non-surgically. Following IBTR, the 5-year overall survival among patients with local control was 78% in contrast to 21% among patients with ULD.

CONCLUSION: Uncontrolled local disease is an infrequent but important outcome following breast-conserving surgery. Primary postoperative radiotherapy reduces the risk for IBTR and is therefore recommended as part of the primary treatment to avoid both IBTR and ULD. In addition to radiotherapy, adjuvant therapy reduces the risk for IBTR and thereby the risk for subsequent ULD. Patients with IBTR, independent of concurrent distant metastases, should when feasible be recommended for salvage surgery as it provides superior local control compared to salvage systemic therapy alone.

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