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We established clonality relationships between invasive ipsilateral breast failures (IBFs; local recurrences) and initial invasive carcinomas using a molecular polymerase chain reaction loss of heterozygosity (LOH) assay for 26 patients treated with breast-conserving therapy for invasive carcinoma with no distant metastases (DMs) before the IBF. LOH was ± 50% allelic loss. Eighteen IBFs (69%) were related clonally to initial carcinomas; 8 (31%) were clonally distinct, second primary carcinomas. IBFs and initial invasive carcinomas were morphologically similar in 6 (75%) of 8 clonally different cases. Clinical IBF classification and molecular assay results differed in 11 cases (42%). The mean intervals to IBF were 4.7 years in related and 8.7 years in different cases (P = .013). In 6 patients, DMs developed; 5 had related IBFs. In related IBF cases, the mean increase in fractional allelic loss (FAL) of IBFs associated with DMs was 18.9% compared with 7.6% in cases unassociated with DMs (P = .004). Molecular assays can accurately establish the clonality of most IBFs. Morphologic comparison and clinical IBF classification are unreliable methods of determining clonality. Clonally related IBFs occurred sooner than clonally different IBFs. Patients with clonally related IBFs are the main pool in which DMs occur. Not all clonally related IBFs have the same DM association; those with large FAL gains were associated with DMs. Molecular clonality assays may provide a reliable means of identifying patients who might benefit from systemic chemotherapy at the time of IBF.