Background. Local recurrence is one of the major problems in treatment of breast cancer. Approximately 20% of patients who have radical or modified radical mastectomy have a local recurrence.
Methods. The records of 98 women with locally recurrent breast cancer treated with wide local excision, in the years 1983–1987, were reviewed. The median age at excision was 62 years (range, 32–84 years). All patients were observed until death or December 31, 1989. The median follow-up period was 36 months (range, 2–79 months).
Results. At follow-up, 44 of 98 patients (45%) had had a new local relapse and 47 of 98 (48%) were dead. The median duration of local control for all patients was 21 months (range, 1–79 months). The diameter of the local recurrence seemed to influence the duration of local disease control but not total survival. Patients admitted directly for surgery had a longer period of local control compared with patients admitted after unsuccessful oncologic treatment of the local recurrence. The 5-year local control rates were 50% and 24%, respectively (P > 0.92). No statistically significant difference in local control could be shown whether or not the patient received additional oncologic therapy in continuity with the wide local excision. The 5-year local control rate in patients treated only by surgery was 33% compared with 42% in patients also receiving additional oncologic treatment (P > 0.63).
Conclusions. Wide local excision of recurrent breast cancer seems to provide as good or even better local control than other treatment modalities. Surgery should not be postponed in cases of ineffective medical treatment or radiation therapy.