Local Recurrence of Breast Cancer after Skin-Sparing Mastectomy Following Core Needle Biopsy: Case Reports and Review of the Literature

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The latest advances in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for breast cancer have provided valuable technological breakthroughs. Yet the long-term consequences of these modern methods are still quite unclear. Such is the case for stereotactic or ultrasound-guided histologic needle biopsy and skin-sparing mastectomy. We report on three patients who presented with multicentric breast cancer diagnosed by stereotactic needle biopsy and treated by skin-sparing mastectomy. All three patients developed recurrence at the core needle entry site. Records of 58 patients with breast cancer who were treated by skin-sparing mastectomy followed by immediate reconstruction (with transverse rectus abdominis muscle [TRAM] flap or tissue expander) at the Breast Diseases Division of Buenos Aires British Hospital between December 1999 and December 2003 were reviewed retrospectively. Eleven of these patients were diagnosed by histologic needle biopsy. The mean follow-up was 28 months (range 5–60 months). Three (skin or subcutaneous) local recurrences at the needle entry site, diagnosed in a mean time of 23.6 months (16, 22, and 23 months), were reported. The three patients underwent complete resection with clear margins, radiation therapy to the “neobreast,” and tamoxifen. All three patients are disease free with a mean postrecurrence follow-up of 24.3 months (30, 23, and 22 months). Based on the evidence of displacement of tumor cells and the potential nonresection of such tumor seeding at the time of skin-sparing mastectomy, as well as the poor probability of postoperative radiation therapy, we recommend surgical resection of the needle biopsy tract, including the dermal entry site, at the time of mastectomy.

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