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Radiology. 1989 Aug;172(2):555-9.

Prognostic factors for recurrence and cosmesis in 393 patients after radiation therapy for early mammary carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Los Angeles 90027.


Between 1978 and 1985, 393 of 2,765 (14%) patients with operable cancer of the breast (clinical stage T0-3N0-2M0) were irradiated after excisional biopsy and staging axillary dissection. Of 77 patients with microscopic axillary metastases, 68 received systemic adjuvant therapy. Treatment failed locally in 26 cases, and there were seven patients with distant metastasis. The three major factors for increased local treatment failure were (a) age below 40 years (P = .003), (b) negative estrogen receptor assay result (P = .03), and (c) failure to deliver a radiation boost dose when tumor was present at the margin of the specimen (P = .002). The size of the tumor, the nodal status, the progesterone receptor assay result, and the presence of ductal carcinoma in situ mixed with infiltrating carcinoma did not show a significant influence on local recurrence. In 274 of 393 (70%) patients, cosmesis was evaluated. The four major factors affecting cosmesis favorably were (a) utilization of a wedge (P less than .0001); (b) treatment of two fields a day (P less than .0001); (c) failure to use a separate treatment port to the regional lymph nodes, so as to avoid field junctions (P = .0003); and (d) small size of specimen (less than 50 cm2) (P = .0171). A second or third cancer was found in 39 of the 393 (10%) patients; contralateral breast cancer was the most common form (n = 23), followed by genitourinary cancer (n = 5). The most frequent complication was arm edema (6%).

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