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Ann Surg Oncol. 2007 Nov;14(11):3133-40. Epub 2007 Jul 26.

The effect of multiple reexcisions on the risk of local recurrence after breast conserving surgery.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497, USA.



Guidelines for breast conserving surgery (BCS) advise mastectomy if negative margins cannot be obtained after reasonable surgical attempts. This study examined the effect of multiple reexcisions on local recurrence (LR) and identified factors predictive of the need for multiple reexcisions.


2,770 patients undergoing BCS over 25 years were analyzed; 137 patients (group A) with two or more reexcisions, 1514 patients with one reexcision (group B), and 1119 patients who had no reexcision (group C). The median follow-up was 73 months.


The five and ten-year actuarial LR rates for groups A, B, and C were 5.5%, 1.9%, 2.5%, and 10%, 5.7%, and 5.6%, respectively. The number of reexcisions did not predict for LR on multivariate analysis. Women <40 years underwent reexcision more frequently than other age groups. Patients with tumors detected by palpation alone made up 14% of the reexcision group versus 8% of the no reexcision group (p < 0.001). Patients with ductal carcinoma in situ and lobular carcinoma were more likely to require reexcision than those with ductal carcinoma. On multivariate analysis, younger age, detection by physical exam only, lobular histology, smaller tumor size, and the presence of extensive intraductal component (EIC) were highly significant predictors of the need for reexcision.


Multiple reexcisions do not impact on LR rates if negative margins are ultimately obtained. Conversion to mastectomy based solely on the number of excisions performed is not indicated. Subsets of patients more likely to require reexcision, who may be candidates for a larger initial resection, can be identified.

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