Complications after breast cancer surgery in patients treated with concomitant preoperative chemoradiation: a case–control analysis

  • Eva Ruvalcaba-Limón
  • Carlos Robles-Vidal
  • Adela Poitevin-Chacón
  • Mariana  Chávez-MacGregor
  • Carlos Gamboa-Vignolle
  • Diana Vilar-Compte



Nearly 60% of breast cancer cases in Mexico are in advanced stages. At our institution, concomitant preoperative chemoradiation is being used in patients with advanced breast cancer. In the present study, we evaluated the postoperative wound complications and risk factors associated.

Patients and methods

The study included breast cancer patients from January 2000 to December 2002 treated with concomitant preoperative chemoradiation and mastectomy. Wound complication rates were described along with a nested case–control analysis to evaluate risk factors for postoperative major wound complications.


We evaluated 360 patients treated with preoperative chemoradiation. About 165 patients (45.8%) developed a wound complication (infection and/or flap necrosis); 60 (16.6%) patients had a surgical site infection (SSI) and 61 (16.9%), flap necrosis; 44 (12.2%) developed both complications, and 25 (6.9%) experienced late dehiscence after suture removal. Epidermolysis, seroma, and hematoma ocurred in 93 (25.8%), 80 (22.2%), and 12 patients (3.3%), respectively. Case–control analysis was conducted in 335 patients. After logistic regression analysis, the sole variable found associated with SSI and/or flap necrosis was epidermolysis (OR = 8.81, 95% CI  = 4.52–17.18). Although not significant and of lesser magnitude, adjusted risk estimates of overweight, age >50 years, and type of mastectomy showed the same trend.


Postoperative wound complications were not different from those observed in non-radiated patients, but its rate was higher. Epidermolysis was associated with SSI and/or flap necrosis. Careful surgical technique should be encouraged.


breast surgery wound complications chemoradiation breast cancer 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Ruvalcaba-Limón
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carlos Robles-Vidal
    • 1
  • Adela Poitevin-Chacón
    • 3
  • Mariana  Chávez-MacGregor
    • 4
    • 5
  • Carlos Gamboa-Vignolle
    • 3
  • Diana Vilar-Compte
    • 4
  1. 1.Breast Tumor DepartmentInstituto Nacional de CancerologíaMexico CityMéxico
  2. 2.Current address: Department of Surgical OncologyInstituto de Enfermedades de la MamaMexico CityMéxico
  3. 3.Radiation Oncology DepartmentInstituto Nacional de CancerologíaMexico CityMéxico
  4. 4.Infectious Diseases DepartmentInstituto Nacional de CancerologíaMexico CityMexico
  5. 5.Current address: Department of MedicineWashington University School of MedicineSt. Louis, MissouriUSA

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