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Am Surg. 1998 Jun;64(6):533-7; discussion 537-8.

Local recurrence of breast cancer after cytological evaluation of lumpectomy margins.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of South Florida College of Medicine, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa 33612, USA.


Successful breast conservation therapy with optimal cosmesis requires adequate tumor excision and negative tumor margins. Therefore, more sensitive techniques are being developed to identify lumpectomy margins intraoperatively with greater accuracy. Unidentified microscopic disease is seemingly responsible for a local recurrence rate of up to 25 per cent 3 to 5 years after lumpectomy and radiotherapy for breast cancer patients. As a result, Moffitt Cancer Center has routinely used an intraoperative touch preparation cytology (TPC) protocol to evaluate the entire resected surface of all lumpectomies. In addition, resection margins were also evaluated by gross examination and by standard histology. In rare instances frozen sections were used to evaluate tumor margins. In this study 701 consecutive lumpectomy specimens were evaluated by TPC during the period of 9 years with a mean follow-up of 3.5 years. Local cancer recurrence was 2.7 per cent (mean recurrence, 2.53 years), in women whose lumpectomy margins were evaluated by TPC. Of interest, a local recurrence rate of 14.6 per cent was observed in patients who had referral lumpectomies evaluated by conventional histopathology. This study suggests that accurate margin assessment with TPC plays an important role in the control of local recurrence after breast conservation therapy. Therefore, we conclude the routine use of intraoperative TPC provides rapid, reliable, topographically accurate identification of residual microscopic disease at lumpectomy margins.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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