Locally advanced breast cancer: is surgery necessary? breast journal Favret, A. M., Carlson, R. W., Goffinet, D. R., Jeffrey, S. S., Dirbas, F. M., Stockdale, F. E. 2001; 7 (2): 131-137


A retrospective analysis of the treatment of locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) was undertaken at Stanford Medical Center to assess the outcome of patients who did not undergo surgical removal of their tumors. Between 1981 and 1998, 64 patients with locally advanced breast cancer were treated with induction chemotherapy, radiation with or without breast surgery, and additional chemotherapy. Sixty-two (97%) patients received cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and 5-fluorouracil (CAF) induction chemotherapy. Induction chemotherapy was followed by local radiotherapy in 59 (92%) patients. Based on the clinical response to chemotherapy and patient preference, 44 (69%) patients received no local breast surgery. Radiotherapy was followed by an additional, non-doxorubicin-containing chemotherapy in all patients. The mean age of patients was 49 years. Of the 65 locally advanced breast cancers in 64 patients, 26 (41%) were stage IIIA, 35 (55%) were stage IIIB, and 4 (6%) were stage IV (supraclavicular lymph nodes only). Response to induction chemotherapy was seen in 59 patients (92%), with 29 (45%) achieving a complete clinical response and 30 (47%) a partial clinical response. With a mean follow-up of 51 months (range 7-187 months), 43 patients (67.2%) have no evidence of recurrent disease. Eight (12.5%) have recurred locally, and 21 (32.8%) have recurred with distant metastasis. Actuarial 5-year survival is 75%, disease-free survival is 58%, and local control rate is 87.5%. These data indicate that the routine inclusion of breast surgery in a combined modality treatment program for LABC does not appear necessary for the majority of patients who experience a response to induction chemotherapy.

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