Breast Disease pp 293-307 | Cite as

Surgical Management of Locally Advanced Breast Cancer

  • Abdullah IgciEmail author
  • Enver Özkurt


Patients with locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) have historically been considered inoperable cases. However, in light of recent research and studies, even metastatic breast cancers have been downstaged to operable cases using new treatment modalities. The incidence of LABC is less than 5% (Seidman et al. CA Cancer J Clin 37:258–90, 1987; Zeichner et al. Cancerologia 39:1825–30, 1993; Moisa et al. Cancerologia 35:810–4, 1989). Annually, 300,000–450,000 new cases of LABC are diagnosed worldwide. According to the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system, LABC is classified as follows: T3, large tumors; T4, tumors with skin or chest wall involvement; N2, nodal disease with fixed or matted axillary lymph nodes; and N3, nodal disease with involvement of the ipsilateral subclavicular and supraclavicular lymph nodes (Anonymous et al. AJCC cancer staging handbook, New York: Springer, 255–81, 2002). However, tumors that do not clinically match the criteria for LABC according to the AJCC staging system, such as tumors 3–5 cm in size located in a low-volume breast, behave similarly to LABC; thus, these tumors are optimally treated with combined modality approaches. The administration of preoperative systemic therapy (PST) as the first modality of treatment is favored by most expert groups for the management of stage III and most large stage II breast cancers (Jacquillat et al. Cancer 61:1977–82, 1988; DeLena et al. Cancer Clin Trials 4:229–36, 1981; Cocconi et al. Am J Clin Oncol 13:226–32, 1990; Touboul et al. Radiother Oncol 25:167–75, 1992; Lippman et al. NCI Monogr 1:153–9, 1986; Schwartz et al. Arch Surg 122:1430–4, 1987; Bonadonna et al. J Natl Cancer Inst 82:1539–45, 1990). This treatment may enable downstaging in approximately 70–95% of patients (Jacquillat et al. Cancer 61:1977–82, 1988; Schwartz et al. Arch Surg 122:1430–4, 1987; Bonadonna et al. J Natl Cancer Inst 82:1539–45, 1990; Hortobagyi and BuzdarHigh-risk breast cancer. Berlin: Springer, 382–415, 1991; Hortobagyi et al. Cancer 62:2507–16, 1988). Several studies have compared preoperative systemic therapy with postoperative (adjuvant) systemic therapy and demonstrated that these new treatment modalities prolong disease-free and overall survival (Wolmark et al. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr 30:96–102, 2001; van der Hage et al. J Clin Oncol 19:4224–37, 2001; Gianni et al. J Clin Oncol 23:7S, 2005). Patients treated with PST were significantly more likely to undergo breast-conserving surgery (BCS) without a significant increase in local recurrence (LR) compared with patients treated with surgery first (Wolmark et al. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr 30:96–102, 2001; van der Hage et al. J Clin Oncol 19:4224–37, 2001; Gianni et al. J Clin Oncol 23:7S, 2005). In addition, PST results in downstaging the axillary lymph nodes in up to 40% of patients (Wolmark et al. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr 30:96–102, 2001; van der Hage et al. J Clin Oncol 19:4224–37, 2001; Bear et al. J CIin Oncol 21:4165–74, 2003; Gianni et al. Proc Am Soc Clin Oncol 21:34A, 2002). Downstaging the axilla can reduce morbidity due to decreased rates of axillary dissection. Several randomized and non-randomized studies have demonstrated a significant achievement of pathologic complete response (pCR) in the breast and axillary nodes and improved outcome. According to these studies, clinical and pathological response to PST can be used as an intermediate marker of chemotherapy efficacy, thus prompting the decision as to which chemotherapy regimen should be used following surgery. Furthermore, the efficacy of chemotherapy is slightly enhanced prior to surgery based on robust vascular and lymphatic drainage of the breast and the tumor itself. Based on the findings above, multidisciplinary collective and coordinated work between surgical and oncological teams as well as other clinicians is crucial when evaluating patients with LABC.


Locally advanced breast cancer Neoadjuvant chemotherapy Sentinel lymph node biopsy Breast-conserving surgery 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istanbul Medical FacultyIstanbul UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Department of General SurgeryIstanbul Medical Faculty, Istanbul UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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