The identification of factors associated with breast recurrence following conservative surgery (CS) and radiation therapy (RT) is of potential use in refining patient selection criteria and treatment technique. In an attempt to define such factors we examined the relationship between various clinical, pathologic and treatment characteristics and the likelihood of breast recurrence in 783 patients with clinical stage I or II breast cancer treated between July 1968 and December 1982. Treatment consisted of complete gross excision of the primary tumor and RT to a total dose of at least 60 Gy to the primary site. During this period, pre-treatment mammograms and detailed histologic assessment of the margins of resection were not routinely performed. Median follow-up for surviving patients was 80 months. Thirteen patients (1.6%) were lost to follow-up. Ninety-one patients (12%) have developed a breast recurrence, corresponding to 5- and 10-year actuarial rates of 10 and 18%, respectively. The major feature associated with breast recurrence was the presence of an "extensive intraductal component" (EIC +). An EIC + tumor was seen in 28% of evaluable cases with infiltrating ductal carcinoma and accounted for 60% of breast recurrences. Forty-three of 166 patients (26%) with EIC + tumors developed a breast recurrence compared with 29 of 418 patients (7%) without an EIC (EIC -) (p = 0.0001). The 5-year actuarial rates of breast relapse were 24 and 6%, respectively (p = 0.0001). Very young age (defined as 34 years of age or younger) was also a significant factor associated with the risk of breast recurrence. Very young patients comprised 8% of the patient population and accounted for 16% of breast recurrences. Fifteen of 61 very young patients (25%) developed a breast recurrence compared with 76 of 722 older patients (11%) (p = 0.001). The corresponding 5-year actuarial rates of breast recurrence were 21 and 9% (p = 0.005). None of the other clinical or pathological factors examined by univariate analysis were significantly correlated with recurrence in the breast. A multivariate model of site of first failure (polychotomous logistic regression) also showed that EIC + tumors and very young age were the main factors associated with a high relative risk of breast recurrence. We conclude that EIC + tumors and very young age are associated with a high risk of breast recurrence for patients treated with limited excision prior to RT.
- Breast cancer conservative surgery