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NPJ Breast Cancer. 2019 Sep 6;5:29. doi: 10.1038/s41523-019-0125-7. eCollection 2019.

Success rates of re-excision after positive margins for invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast.

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1Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA USA.
2Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA USA.


Rates of positive margins after surgical resection of invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) are high (ranging from 18 to 60%), yet the efficacy of re-excision lumpReceptor subtypeectomy for clearing positive margins is unknown. Concerns about the diffuse nature of ILC may drive increased rates of completion mastectomy to treat positive margins, thus lowering breast conservation rates. We therefore determined the success rate of re-excision lumpectomy in women with ILC and positive margins after surgical resection. We identified 314 cases of stage I-III ILC treated with breast conserving surgery (BCS) at the University of California, San Francisco. Surgical procedures, pathology reports, and outcomes were analyzed using univariate and multivariate statistics and Cox-proportional hazards models. We evaluated outcomes before and after the year 2014, when new margin management consensus guidelines were published. Positive initial margins occurred in 118 (37.6%) cases. Of these, 62 (52.5%) underwent re-excision lumpectomy, which cleared the margin in 74.2%. On multivariate analysis, node negativity was significantly associated with successful re-excision (odds ratio [OR] 3.99, 95% CI 1.15-13.81, p = 0.029). After 2014, we saw fewer initial positive margins (42.7% versus 25.5%, p = 0.009), second surgeries (54.6% versus 20.2%, p < 0.001), and completion mastectomies (27.7% versus 4.5%, p < 0.001). In this large cohort of women with ILC, re-excision lumpectomy was highly successful at clearing positive margins. Additionally, positive margins and completion mastectomy rates significantly decreased over time. These findings highlight improvements in management of ILC, and suggest that completion mastectomy may not be required for those with positive margins after initial BCS.


Breast cancer; Cancer therapy; Outcomes research

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare no competing interests.

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