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World J Clin Oncol. 2016 Apr 10;7(2):234-42. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v7.i2.234.

Is breast conservative surgery a reasonable option in multifocal or multicentric tumors?

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Gilles Houvenaeghel, Agnès Tallet, Aurélie Jalaguier-Coudray, Monique Cohen, Marie Bannier, Camille Jauffret-Fara, Eric Lambaudie, Institut Paoli Calmettes and CRCM, Aix Marseille Université, 13009 Marseille, France.


The incidence of multifocal (MF) and multicentric (MC) carcinomas varies widely among clinical studies, depending on definitions and methods for pathological sampling. Magnetic resonance imaging is increasingly used because it can help identify additional and conventionally occult tumors with high sensitivity. However, false positive lesions might incorrectly influence treatment decisions. Therefore, preoperative biopsies must be performed to avoid unnecessary surgery. Most studies have shown higher lymph node involvement rates in MF/MC tumors than in unifocal tumors. However, the rate of local recurrences is usually low after breast conservative treatment (BCT) of MC/MF tumors. It has been suggested that BCT is a reasonable option for MC/MF tumors in women aged 50-69 years, with small tumors and absence of extensive ductal carcinoma in situ. A meta-analysis showed an apparent decreased overall survival in MC/MF tumors but data are controversial. Surgery should achieve both acceptable cosmetic results and negative margins, which requires thorough preoperative radiological workup and localization of lesions. Boost radiotherapy techniques must be evaluated since double boosts might result in increased toxicity, namely fibrosis. In conclusion, BCT is feasible in selected patients with MC/MF but the choice of surgery must be discussed in a multidisciplinary team comprising at least radiologists, surgeons and radiotherapists.


Breast cancer; Breast conservative surgery; Local recurrence; Mastectomy; Multicentric tumors; Multifocal tumors; Radiotherapy; Survival

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