• breast cancer;
  • breast-conservation therapy;
  • radiotherapy

Abstract: For the women with early-stage breast cancer who are candidates for breast conservation therapy, re-excision of the primary tumor bed has commonly been used in patients for several indications. These indications include positive margin or uncertain margin status of the primary excision or residual microcalcifications on postbiopsy mammogram. If the pathology from the re-excision does not confirm negative margin status, mastectomy is generally recommended. This article examines patients who have undergone a second re-excision (i.e., a lumpectomy followed by two re-excisions) who have been treated with breast conservation therapy rather than a mastectomy.

From September 1977 to November 1995, 1,562 patients underwent breast conserving therapy at this institution. Seven hundred forty of these patients underwent a re-excisional biopsy because of positive or uncertain margin status or residual microcalcifications after the first excision. Four patients (0.5%) underwent a second re-excision because of positive or uncertain margin status or residual microcalcifications on mammogram after the first re-excision. The final margin status after the second re-excision of all four patients was negative. The radiation dose was 4,600–5,000 cGy to the whole breast followed by a conedown to bring the total dose to 6,400–6,800 cGy to the primary tumor bed.

Follow-up in the four patients was 13 years, 4 years, 14 months, and 8 months respectively. All four patients are clinically without disease and have not had a locoregional recurrence. Cosmesis was excellent in all four patients. One patient had an adriamycin-induced recall reaction causing a cellulitis, which resolved with antibiotics. There were no other complications.

Highly selected patients may undergo breast-conserving therapy after a second re-excision. Good outcome and cosmesis can be achieved for this small subset of patients with avoidance of a mastectomy.