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Analyses of predictive factors for local recurrences are important, as an increasing number of patients with early breast cancer opt for a breast-conserving procedure. This study investigates whether factors predictive of local recurrence differ between patients treated with conservative or radical surgery.Two thousands and six patients with invasive breast carcinoma (≤25 mm) were included. Of these patients, 717 were treated conservatively (lumpectomy and breast irradiation) and 1289 were treated with total mastectomy. All patients had axillary dissection and received lymph node irradiation if axillary nodes were positive. Most patients did not receive adjuvant chemotherapy or additive hormonal treatments. The mean duration of follow-up was 20 years. The main end point was the total local recurrence rate. The risk factors of local recurrence were estimated by multivariate analyses and interaction tests were used for intergroup comparisons.Statistically significant predictive factors for mastectomized patients were histological grade, extensive axillary node involvement (10 nodes or more), and inner quadrant tumors, which were of borderline significance. Young age, however, was not a prognostic indicator for local recurrence. The main statistically significant factor for patients treated with a conservative approach was young age (≤40 years). These younger patients had a five-fold increased risk of developing a breast recurrence compared with patients older than 60 years.Younger patients with early breast cancer treated with breast-conserving surgery should in particular be followed up at regular intervals so that any sign of local failure can be diagnosed early.