Breast Conservation: Safe for Early Breast Cancer
Gil Bar-Sella, Georgetta Fried, Zipora Brotman, Anna Ravkin, Riva Borovik, Abraham Kuten
Dept. of Oncology, Rambam Medical Center; Dept. of Oncology, Lin Medical Center; and Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa
Between 1981-1993 581 women with primary breast cancer were treated by breast conservation. Their mean age was 5612 years and 63% were postmenopausal and 37% pre- or perimenopausal. The median follow-up time was 56 months. 45% had pathological Stage I disease, 49% Stage II, 2.5% Stage III and 3.5% clinical Stage I-II disease. 54% of lesions were excised with good margins, 10% with close margins (<0.5 cm), 9% with microscopic residual, 3% with macroscopic residual, and in 24% margins were not reported. Adjuvant therapy, consisting of combination chemotherapy and/or hormones, was given to 69%.
Radiotherapy, usually 50 Gy tangential photon irradiation to the whole breast, was given to 564 (97%); an electron or photon "boost" to the tumor with a median dose of 17.5 Gy was given to 378 (65%). Most of those with positive nodes received 50 Gy to the lymphatic drainage system.
1 year after radiotherapy cosmetic results were rated as "good" or "excellent" in 80%, "moderate" in 17% and "poor" in 3%. The 5-year actuarial survival was 97% in Stage I and 88% in Stage II. 37 patients (6.5%) developed breast recurrence; 11 of these (2%) had simultaneous distant metastases. 5 (<1%) developed axillary or supraclavicular lymph node metastases, and 81 (14%) developed distant metastases. Most local recurrences were in those younger than 40, and in those with primary tumors >1.75 cm.
The satisfactory level of local control achieved is attributed to the high doses of radiation (up to 75 Gy) administered to those with high risk lesions.