Effective local control and long-term survival in patients with T4 locally advanced breast cancer treated with breast conservation therapy.

Jeannie Shen*, Vicente Valero, Thomas A. Buchholz, S. Eva Singletary, Frederick C. Ames, Merrick I. Ross, Massimo Cristofanilli, Gildy V. Babiera, Funda Meric-Bernstam, Barry Feig, Kelly K. Hunt, Henry M. Kuerer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The presence of skin involvement has been accepted as a relative contraindication to breast preservation because it is believed to be associated with an increased local failure rate. This study was conducted to assess the outcome of a carefully selected group of patients who presented with breast cancer involving the skin and who had breast conservation therapy (BCT) following neoadjuvant chemotherapy. METHODS: Between 1987 and 1999, 33 patients with stage IIIB or IIIC breast cancer completed treatment consisting of four cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, lumpectomy, radiation therapy, and consolidative chemotherapy. Clinicopathologic factors were analyzed and patients were followed for locoregional and distant recurrence. RESULTS: Initial median tumor size was 7 cm. All patients had skin involvement, defined as erythema, skin edema, direct skin invasion, ulceration, or peau d'orange. Following chemotherapy, median pathologic tumor size was 2 cm. Complete resolution of skin changes occurred in 29 patients (88%). At median follow-up time of 91 months in surviving patients, 26 patients (79%) were alive without evidence of disease. The 5-year, disease-free survival rate was 70%, and the 5-year overall survival rate was 78%. The actuarial ipsilateral breast cancer recurrence rate was 6% at 5 years. CONCLUSIONS: Patients who present with T4 breast cancer who experience tumor shrinkage and resolution of skin changes with neoadjuvant chemotherapy represent a select group of patients who can have BCT. These patients have favorable rates of long-term local control and survival. Mastectomy is not mandatory for all patients with breast cancer who present with skin involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)854-860
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of surgical oncology : the official journal of the Society of Surgical Oncology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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