Does intraductal breast cancer spread in a segmental distribution? An analysis of residual tumour burden following segmental mastectomy using tumour bed biopsies.Eur J Surg Oncol. 2001 Feb; 27(1):21-5.EJ
Breast-conserving surgery for early breast cancer is now routinely used as an alternative to mastectomy. Despite post-operative radiotherapy, early local recurrence of tumour remains a concern. It has been reported that invasive and in-situ ductal carcinoma spread locally through the ductal tree in a segmental distribution, however, there is no consensus as to the best surgical method to maximize tumour clearance whilst leaving a good cosmetic result.
We aimed to measure the effectiveness of segmental mastectomy (excision of tumour plus associated segmental ductal tissue) in the clearance of different tumour types. Bed biopsy of the excision cavity was employed to assess the rate of incomplete excision or the multifocality of certain breast cancers.
One hundred and one patients with breast cancers underwent segmental mastectomy and cavity bed biopsies. Specimens were assessed for tumour type and completeness of excision. An excision of the cancer was considered incomplete if the margins were involved or if any of the bed biopsies showed residual or multifocal tumour.
A total of 24 patients had incomplete tumour excision. Invasive ductal carcinoma was more likely to be completely excised by segmental mastectomy than invasive lobular carcinoma (P<0.05). Incomplete excision was associated with multifocality and the presence of extensive DCIS. The report of clear pathological margins was significantly more likely to be accurate, as measured by negative bed biopsies, in invasive ductal carcinoma when compared to invasive lobular carcinoma (P<0.05).
These results support the concept that ductal carcinomas spread locally in a segmental fashion. Patients with invasive ductal carcinomas are more likely to benefit from breast conserving surgery that is tailored to include the associated ductal tissue, in a segmental fashioned excision.