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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1983 Jan;9(1):33-9.

The significance of local recurrence of carcinoma of the breast.


One hundred twenty-one patients with local or regional recurrence of carcinoma of the breast without evidence of distant metastases were treated with megavoltage radiation therapy. All patients had radical or modified radical mastectomy as their initial treatment. The 10 year survival probability of this group of patients is 26%, with a local control probability of 46%. Within this group of patients with recurrent disease, factors found to be associated with a poorer prognosis include peripheral nodal recurrence, advanced initial disease stage and short disease free interval. Contrary to expectation, patients with recurrence within the mastectomy scar (as opposed to chest wall recurrence wide of the scar) or a history of previous radiotherapy had poorer local control rates (although not statistically significant), without effect upon overall survival. Comprehensive radiation therapy (peripheral lymphatic plus chest wall) enhanced the local control rate for the entire group and the survival probability for patients with isolated chest wall recurrence compared with limited radiation therapy fields. (Five year survival probability: chest wall irradiation only = 27%; chest wall and peripheral lymphatic = 54%). Patients given systemic therapy at the time of local recurrence showed no survival benefit. Aggressive, comprehensive radiation therapy is indicated for locally recurrent breast cancer. More effective systemic therapy is needed, especially for higher risk patients.

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