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Keywords:

  • breast cancer;
  • oligometastases;
  • stereotactic body radiotherapy;
  • local therapy

Abstract

This review article presents an evaluation of the effects of local therapy on survival of breast cancer patients with distant metastases along with a discussion of their relevance. Primary and recurrent breast cancers with distant metastases are systemic diseases with poor prognosis. However, several retrospective studies have demonstrated that surgical removal of the primary breast tumor has a favorable impact on the prognosis of stage IV breast cancer patients. Similarly, it has been reported that surgical resection of metastatic lesions in the lung as well as the liver yields unexpectedly promising results. The interaction of local treatment and systemic therapy may be important, because surgery and radiotherapy are only local treatments. However, it remains uncertain whether these encouraging findings are due to the surgical procedure itself or preoperative patient selection. Only a randomized prospective study can definitively show whether local treatment can prevent death from stage IV disease or recurrent breast cancer with distant metastases. Until data from prospective studies are available, clinicians must weigh retrospective experiences and clinical judgment in deciding whether to offer surgery or radiotherapy to these patients. J. Surg. Oncol. 2012; 105:104–110. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.