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Keywords:

  • Abdominal;
  • breast cancer;
  • debulking;
  • intraperitoneal;
  • metastasis;
  • pelvic;
  • surgery

Please cite this paper as: Moore EK, Roylance R, Rosenthal AN. Breast cancer metastasising to the pelvis and abdomen: what the gynaecologist needs to know. BJOG 2012;119:788–794.

A small proportion of breast cancers metastasise within the peritoneal cavity. With increasing breast cancer incidence rates, gynaecologists and oncologists will encounter such women more frequently. Most women with intraperitoneal breast cancer are premenopausal. Although data are limited and are likely to be subject to selection bias, the median survival of women undergoing resection appears superior to those not undergoing surgery. Furthermore, survival is broadly similar to that for women undergoing advanced ovarian cancer surgery, particularly when tumour debulking is optimal. Obtaining data via randomised trials is unlikely to be feasible and therefore we recommend prospective data collection via the establishment of an international intraperitoneal breast cancer patient registry. For individual women where survival is anticipated to be more than a few months, we suggest considering referral to a gynaecological oncology team for discussion of surgical options.