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Arch Surg. 1999 May;134(5):487-92; discussion 492-3.

Surgical management of phyllodes tumors.

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Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114, USA.



Although phyllodes tumors have minimal metastatic potential, we hypothesized that they have a proclivity for local recurrence and should be excised with a wide margin. We reviewed the clinical and radiological appearance of phyllodes tumors and analyzed the role of surgical treatment in their management.


Medical records, imaging studies, pathology reports, and interventions were reviewed.


A large tertiary care teaching hospital.


Between 1980 and 1997, 40 patients with phyllodes tumors were identified through the tumor registry at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.


Surgical resection margins, rates of local recurrence, incidence of distant metastases, and survival.


All 40 patients were female, with a mean age of 41 years. Each patient had a palpable mass or a mammographic finding that was indistinguishable from a fibroadenoma on examination. Tumor size ranged from 5 mm to 28 cm. Local recurrence correlated with excision margins (P<.05), but not with tumor grade or size. Local recurrence occurred in 5 patients, each of whom had positive margins or margins less than 1 cm after excision. After reexcision with a 1-cm margin, these individuals remained free of recurrence. One patient developed metastatic disease after total mastectomy and died after chemotherapy.


Phyllodes tumors mimic fibroadenomas and are often excised with close margins. Primary excision or reexcision with a 1-cm margin is recommended. Mastectomy is indicated for patients with large lesions. Lymph node metastases are unusual and occur secondary to necrotic tumor. Chemotherapy is based on guidelines for the treatment of sarcomas, not breast adenocarcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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