Author(s): West JG
Approximately 100 cases of angiosarcoma following breast-conserving therapy have been reported. The prevalence of angiosarcoma following breast conservation has not been accurately established and optimal treatment has not been defined. The goal of this article is to clarify both issues. The Fisher's exact test was used to compare the prevalence of postirradiation angiosarcoma seen in our private practice to the prevalence reported from the two largest national database studies. A literature review was performed to determine optimal treatment guidelines. The results of the comparison indicated that the prevalence of postirradiation angiosarcoma seen in our practice was significantly higher than that reported in the two national database studies at p-values of 0.0124 and 0.0080. Also, results from the literature review suggest that early detection and aggressive treatment lead to improved outcomes. The data are insufficient to draw firm conclusions, but suggest that the current literature underestimates the prevalence of angiosarcoma following breast-conserving therapy. Since elderly women derive less benefit from radiation and may be more prone to develop postirradiation angiosarcoma, confirmation of our findings could lead to a reappraisal of the management of elderly patients with early stage breast cancer.