Chest wall recurrence after mastectomy does not always portend a dismal outcome

Anees Chagpar, Funda Meric-Bernstam, Kelly K. Hunt, Merrick I. Ross, Massimo Cristofanilli, S. Eva Singletary, Thomas A. Buchholz, Frederick C. Ames, Sylvie Marcy, Gildy V. Babiera, Barry W. Feig, Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, Henry M. Kuerer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background: Chest wall recurrence (CWR) after mastectomy often forecasts a grim prognosis. Predictors of outcome after CWR, however, are not clear. Methods: From 1988 to 1998, 130 patients with isolated CWRs were seen at our center. Clinicopathologic factors were studied by univariate and multivariate analyses for distant metastasis-free survival after CWR. The median post-CWR follow-up was 37 months. Results: Initial nodal status was the strongest predictor of outcome by univariate analysis. Other significant factors included initial T4 disease, primary lymphovascular invasion, treatment of the primary tumor with neoadjuvant therapy or radiation, time to CWR >24 months, and treatment for CWR (surgery, radiation, or multimodality therapy). Multivariate analysis also found initial nodal status to have the greatest effect; time to CWR and use of radiation for CWR were also independent predictors. Three groups of patients were identified. Low risk was defined by initial node-negative disease, time to CWR >24 months, and radiation for CWR; intermediate risk had one or two favorable features; and high risk had none. The median distant metastasis-free survival after CWR was significantly different among these groups (P < .0001). Conclusions: Patients with CWR are a heterogeneous population. Patients with initial node-negative disease who develop CWR after 24 months have an optimistic prognosis, especially if they are treated with radiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-634
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of surgical oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2003


  • Breast cancer
  • Chest wall recurrence
  • Mastectomy
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Surgery


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