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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 15

of 'The role of local therapies in metastatic breast cancer'

Effect of primary tumor extirpation in breast cancer patients who present with stage IV disease and an intact primary tumor.
Babiera GV, Rao R, Feng L, Meric-Bernstam F, Kuerer HM, Singletary SE, Hunt KK, Ross MI, Gwyn KM, Feig BW, Ames FC, Hortobagyi GN
Ann Surg Oncol. 2006;13(6):776.
BACKGROUND: Currently, therapy for breast cancer patients with stage IV disease and an intact primary tumor is metastasis directed; the primary tumor is treated only when it causes symptoms. A recent review suggested that surgery may improve long-term survival in such patients. We evaluated the effect of surgery in such patients on long-term survival and disease progression.
METHODS: We reviewed the records of all breast cancer patients treated at our institution between 1997 and 2002 who presented with stage IV disease and an intact primary tumor. Information collected included demographics, tumor characteristics, site(s) of metastases, type/date of operation, use of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, disease progression (time to progression and location of progression) in the first year after diagnosis, and last follow-up. Overall and metastatic progression-free survival were compared between surgery and nonsurgery patients.
RESULTS: Of 224 patients identified, 82 (37%) underwent surgical extirpation of the primary tumor (segmental mastectomy in 39 [48%]and mastectomy in 43 [52%]), and 142 (63%) were treated without surgery. The median follow-up time was 32.1 months. After adjustment for other covariates, surgery was associated with a trend toward improvement in overall survival (P=.12; relative risk, .50; 95% confidence interval, .21-1.19) and a significant improvement in metastatic progression-free survival (P=.0007; relative risk, .54; 95% confidence interval, .38-.77).
CONCLUSIONS: Removal of the intact primary tumor for breast cancer patients with synchronous stage IV disease is associated with improvement in metastatic progression-free survival. Prospective studies are needed to validate these findings.
Department of Surgical Oncology, Unit 444, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA. gvbabiera@mdanderson.org