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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1999 Nov 1;45(4):885-91.

The influence of age and extensive intraductal component histology upon breast lumpectomy margin assessment as a predictor of residual tumor.

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New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



Young age and extensive intraductal component (EIC) histology have been shown to be associated with increased local recurrence in women treated with breast conservation therapy. This study was conducted to determine if the status of the lumpectomy specimen margin consistently predicted for residual tumor burden risk irrespective of these variables.


As part of an institutional prospective approach for breast conservation therapy (BCT), 265 cases with AJCC Stage I/II carcinoma with an initial excision margin that was < or =2 mm or indeterminate were subjected to reexcision. The probability of residual tumor (+RE) was evaluated with respect to tumor size, histopathologic subtype (invasive ductal carcinoma, invasive ductal carcinoma with an EIC, and invasive lobular carcinoma), relative closeness of the measured margin, and the extent of margin positivity graded as focal, minimal, moderate, or extensive. The amount of residual tumor was graded as microscopic, small, medium, or large. All variables were analyzed for patient age < or =45 or >45 years.


There was no significant difference in the incidence of a +RE according to age < or =45 versus >45 years when the margin was >0 < or =2 mm. Of the patients aged < or =45 years, the incidence of a +RE with a margin that was positive as compared to >0 < or =2 mm was 71% vs. 23%, respectively (p = 0.002). For women >45 years old, the difference in the incidence of +RE comparing margins that were positive or >0 < or =2 mm was not significant at 50% vs. 40%, respectively (p = 0.23). For all cases in aggregate, age < or =45 years was associated with a greater incidence of +RE as compared to patients aged >45 years with the discrepant incidence of a +RE by age strata most pronounced for focally positive margins (60% vs. 18%;p< or =0.05). In a logistic regression analysis, age (per year, as a continuous variable) and an EIC histology were significantly associated with the probability of a +RE (odds ratio [OR] = 0.80, p = 0.05 and OR = 1.9, p = 0.01, respectively). Tumor size was not significant (p = 0.23). In patients with an EIC histology, margin status is generally less predictive for differences in the incidence of a +RE. Further, the overall magnitude of difference in the incidence of a +RE related to age appears to be minimized when an EIC histology is present. In contrast, for cases classified as having non-EIC histology, there is a near-linear relationship for both age strata with respect to margin status and the incidence of a +RE. When histology is classified as non-EIC, age < or =45 years is consistently associated with a greater risk of residual tumor for all margin status categories. When the extent of margin positivity was graded as focal or minimal, residual tumor was semiquantitatively estimated as a medium/large amount in 33% versus 26% of cases aged < or =45 or >45 years, respectively (p = 0.62).


For positive lumpectomy specimen margins, younger age is associated with an increased residual tumor risk. An EIC histology appears to be associated with an elevated risk of residual tumor irrespective of age and may undermine the predictive utility of margin status. Therefore, age and an EIC histology should be factored into risk assessments for residual tumor that rely upon margin assessment.

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