Breast conservation surgery and interstitial brachytherapy in the management of locally recurrent carcinoma of the breast: the Allegheny General Hospital experience

Mark Trombetta, Thomas Julian, Tanuja Bhandari, E Day Werts, Moyed Miften, David Parda
Brachytherapy 2008, 7 (1): 29-36

PURPOSE: To evaluate lumpectomy followed by interstitial brachytherapy as an acceptable salvage therapy for women who have developed localized recurrence of breast cancer after conservation surgery and postoperative external radiotherapy.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between 1/1998 and 10/2006, 21 patients with T0 or T1 in-breast recurrence of carcinoma were offered interstitial low-dose rate brachytherapy after tumor re-excision as an alternative to salvage mastectomy. All patients had failed lumpectomy followed by standard postoperative external beam radiotherapy (range, 5000-6040cGy) as treatment for the initial breast carcinoma. Seven recurred as ductal carcinoma in situ, 2 as infiltrating lobular carcinoma, and 12 as recurrent invasive carcinoma. The recurrent tumors were excised with final margins of resection free of residual disease per National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project definition. Tumor bed implantation was then carried out with an interstitial technique using (192)Ir with the target volume consisting of the tumor bed plus a minimum 1.0-cm clinical margin. The required minimum dose delivered to the target volume was 4500-5000cGy (range, 4500-5530).

RESULTS: Twenty of 21 patients were free of local disease with a median observation time of 40 months (range, 3-69). The single patient who developed a second local recurrence was treated successfully with simple mastectomy. Two patients succumbed to systemic disease at 17 and 24 months after salvage implant therapy. One patient developed a contralateral breast cancer. Cosmetic results defined by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project cosmesis scale were acceptable. One patient developed a localized seroma requiring multiple needle aspirations before complete resolution. Two patients developed localized skin breakdown in the tumor bed. One healed after 6 months of conservative treatment. The other healed 9 months later with Grade II cosmesis. This patient also developed a concurrent postoperative wound infection.

CONCLUSIONS: Repeat lumpectomy followed by brachytherapy is feasible and may be an acceptable alternative to salvage mastectomy in patients who locally fail conservation breast therapy; however, longer followup and greater patient numbers may be needed to better define the role of salvage brachytherapy.

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