Surgery for T4 breast carcinoma: Implications for local control

Karen A. Yeh, Anand Jillella, J. P. Wei

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5 Scopus citations


Despite increasing public awareness and widespread availability of mammography, many patients will present with locally advanced breast cancers. The role of surgery remains controversial. Between 1993 and 1998, 47 of 393 (11.9%) breast cancer patients presented with T4 (inflammatory or locally advanced) carcinoma. We reviewed multimodality management, clinical response to neoadjuvant therapy, perioperative course and complications, and local control. Forty-six women and one man were diagnosed with clinical T4 breast cancer. There were 24 white and 23 African-American patients. Mean age at presentation was 54.5 (range, 31-88) years. Twenty-three patients had clinical metastases to axillary nodes, and five had distant metastases at the time of diagnosis. For these women, intent was for personal hygiene and control of pain. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was given for 34 of 47 (72%) with 25 of 34 (73.5%) having partial or complete clinical response. There was no response or progression of disease in 9 of 34(26.5%). Forty-six patients underwent radical or modified radical mastectomy, whereas a single patient underwent breast conservation treatment. Twelve required tissue transfer for wound coverage. Although eight developed minor wound complications (cellulitis/flap separation), there were no major wound complications. Pathologically negative margins were achieved in all but one patient. To date, five women have developed local recurrence in either the chest wall (three) or axilla (two). Average time to local recurrence was 7.8 months. There is no evidence of local failure in the remaining 87 per cent. Locally advanced breast cancer is a common occurrence in certain populations. Multimodality management remains the standard of care. Surgical resection may allow for successful local control and, in certain situations, long-term cure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-255
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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