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Ann Surg. 1990 Mar;211(3):250-9.

Conservative treatment of early breast cancer. Long-term results of 1232 cases treated with quadrantectomy, axillary dissection, and radiotherapy.

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  • 1Instituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori Via Venezian, Milan, Italy.


One thousand two hundred and thirty-two women with invasive breast cancer lesions measuring less than 2 cm in diameter, clinically assessed as T1N0-1M0, were treated from 1970 to 1983 at the National Cancer Institute of Milan with quadrantectomy, axillary dissection, and radiotherapy (QUART). Pathologic evidence of lymph-nodes metastases was found in 32% of the patients. Overall survival at 5 and 10 years from surgery was 91% and 78%, respectively. The cumulative probability of survival tends to decrease with increasing tumor size: the 7-year survival rate was 84% in cases in which lesions measured from 1.6 to 2.0 cm, and 94% in cases in which the lesions were less than 0.5 cm. Tumor site in the treated breast did not affect distant outcome. No difference was found between the patients without node metastases and patients with one node involved, whereas the patients with more than one node showed a lower probability of survival. The survival curves of 352 cases treated inside a randomized trial and that of 880 cases routinely treated appear to be superimposable. Local recurrences and new primary ipsilateral tumors were, respectively, 35 (2.8%) and 19 (1.6%); 56 women with local recurrences or second tumors underwent second surgery (total mastectomy, 43; wide resection, 11). Five of them died from distant spread of breast cancer, while 49 are alive and well. In the contralateral breasts 45 carcinomas were recorded during the follow-up time. The results of the present analysis of a large number of T1 cases reconfirm the safety of integrated radiosurgical conservative treatments.

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