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Br J Radiol. 2002 Aug;75(896):663-9.

Radiotherapy in the treatment of locoregional relapses of breast cancer.

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  • 1Radiotherapy Department, University of Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 33, D-48129 Muenster, Germany.


Locoregional recurrences of breast cancer are associated with considerable morbidity and frequently present with concurrent metastatic disease. Yet patients without systemic spread can be treated with curative intent. In a retrospective analysis, the results of treatment of these patients have been evaluated at our institution. Between 1987 and 1996, 113 patients with locoregional breast cancer relapse, without systemic manifestation, received irradiation after local tumour excision. 13 patients (11.5%) had already received radiotherapy as part of their primary treatment. In these cases, only the area involved was treated. In all other patients, the chest wall and the ipsilateral lymph nodes were irradiated. Median dose was 50 Gy (range 20-65 Gy). Median follow-up was 4.4 years. 76 patients (67.3%) presented with chest wall recurrence only, 25 patients (22.1%) with nodal relapse only and 12 patients (10.6%) with combined relapses. 93% of patients had local control of disease after treatment. Local control rate after 5 years was 59%. 63 patients (55.8%) died within the follow-up interval, 45 patients (39.8%) owing to metastases, 4 patients (3.5%) owing to local failure and 8 patients (7%) owing to causes unrelated to tumour. Overall survival after 5 years was 43%. In multivariate analysis, positive hormone receptor status, small tumours on relapse and chest wall relapses alone were associated with improved survival. Radical local therapy is necessary in order to achieve and maintain local control and to prevent secondary dissemination in patients with only local recurrence of breast cancer.

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