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Eur J Surg Oncol. 2011 Apr;37(4):350-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2011.01.010. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

Clear margins for invasive lobular carcinoma: a surgical challenge.

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Department of Breast Cancer and Reconstructive Surgery, Paris Breast Center, Paris, France.



The main goal of breast conservative surgery (BCS) is the complete removal of cancer with clear margins and no deformity of the breast. However, in invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) this goal is hard to achieve because of the underestimation of tumor size. Our study was the first to show the role of surgical techniques in the achievement of clear margins for ILC.


We reviewed 73 patients with ILC who underwent BCS at Paris Breast Center between January 2005 and June 2008. Full thickness excision (FTE) was performed in a routine basis and oncoplastic surgery (OPS) upon tumor location, volume ratio and overall density of the breast. Margin status was evaluated as positive, close or clear.


Positive/close margins were found in 39% of cases and were lower than what was described in the literature (49-63%). FTE was performed in 47 (64%) patients and OPS in 26 (36%) patients. No positive/close margins were observed in patients with lesions located in the lower/central quadrants. Multivariate analysis showed multifocality, larger tumor size and FTE to be independent risk factors for positive margins at final surgery.


Our rate of positive/close margins for ILC was lower than what was described in the literature. The determinant key difference was in our surgical procedures with FTE or OPS differing from the standard BCS described in the literature and we suggest that OPS is to be considered for ILC. It allows larger breast conservative surgery with good cosmetic results and lower rate of compromised margins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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