alexa Breast cancer recurrence after immediate reconstruction: patterns and significance
Oncology

Oncology

Breast Cancer: Current Research

Author(s): Langstein HN

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Local recurrence of cancer after mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction is generally regarded as a poor prognostic indicator. This study was conducted to identify specific patterns of local recurrence following reconstruction and to determine their biological significance. The records of all patients who had undergone immediate breast reconstruction at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center between June 1, 1988, and December 31, 1998, were reviewed. The records of patients who had local tumor recurrence were then carefully analyzed. During this 10-year period, a local recurrence of cancer was found to have developed in 39 of 1694 patients (2.3 percent). Most recurrences were in the skin or subcutaneous tissue (n = 28; 72 percent), and the remainder were in the "chest wall" (n = 11; 28 percent), as defined by skeletal or muscular involvement. Transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flaps were used most often in both groups, but latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flaps and implant techniques were also used in some patients. Patients with subcutaneous tissue recurrence had an overall survival rate of 61 percent at follow-up of 80.8 months, compared with patients with chest wall recurrence, whose survival rate was 45 percent at similar follow-up. Metastases were less likely to develop in patients with subcutaneous tissue recurrence than in those with chest wall recurrence (57 percent versus 91 percent; p = 0.044); the former group also had a greater chance of remaining disease-free after treatment of the recurrence (39 percent versus 9 percent), respectively. Metastasis-free survival was higher in patients with subcutaneous tissue recurrence than with chest wall recurrence (2-year and 5-year survival: 52 and 42 percent versus 24 and 24 percent; p = 0.04). In both groups, the time to detection of the recurrence was similar (subcutaneous tissue recurrence, 27.1 months, versus chest wall recurrence, 29.5 months). Distant disease did not develop in one patient only in the chest wall recurrence group; this patient remained disease-free at 70 months. From these results, it was concluded that (1) not all local recurrences are the same: patients with subcutaneous tissue recurrence have better survival rates, a decreased incidence of metastases, and a greater chance of remaining disease-free than do those with chest wall recurrence; (2) immediate breast reconstruction (although potentially, it can conceal chest wall recurrence) does not seem to delay the detection of chest wall recurrence; and (3) even if a chest wall recurrence develops, it is highly associated with metastatic disease, and the survival rate is not likely to have been influenced by earlier detection. These data support the continued use of immediate breast reconstruction without fear of concealing a recurrence or influencing the oncologic outcome.

This article was published in Plast Reconstr Surg and referenced in Breast Cancer: Current Research

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