• breast cancer;
  • neoadjuvant chemotherapy;
  • breast-conservation therapy;
  • locoregional recurrence;
  • radiopaque clip



The objective of this study was to determine whether patients with breast cancer who received breast-conservation therapy after neoadjuvant chemotherapy had improved outcomes if radiopaque clips were placed to mark the primary tumor.


The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 410 patients with nonmetastatic breast cancer who received doxorubicin-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy and breast-conservation therapy from January 1990 to September 2005. Thirty-seven of those patients were omitted because of the inability to verify radiopaque clip placement in the primary tumor.


Of the 373 patients who were analyzed, 145 patients had radiopaque clips placed to mark the primary tumor before or during neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and 228 patients did not. The distribution of clinical T classification, nuclear grade, estrogen receptor status, final margin status, and extent of residual primary disease was similar between the 2 groups. After a median follow-up of 49 months (range, 20-177 months), 21 patients developed a local recurrence in the treated breast. The 5-year rate of local control was 98.6% in patients who had radiopaque clips placed versus 91.7% in patients who did not have tumor marker clips placed (P = .02; log-rank test). On multivariate analysis, the omission of tumor bed clips was associated with a hazard ratio of 3.69 for increased local recurrence compared with patients who did have radiopaque clip placement (P = .083; 95% confidence interval, 0.84-16.16).


The placement of radiopaque clips in patients who were receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy and breast-conservation therapy was associated with better local control independent of stage and other clinicopathologic findings. The authors concluded that the placement of tumor-marker clips should be an integral part of the multidisciplinary approach in appropriate patients. Cancer 2007. © 2007 American Cancer Society.