Safety and Feasibility of Breast Conserving Therapy in Indian Women: Two Decades of Experience at Tata Memorial Hospital

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The NIH consensus statement on the management of breast cancer has highlighted the paucity of outcome data in non-Caucasian women. Treatment outcome and factors determining it in a large cohort of ethnic Indian women treated with breast conserving therapy (BCT) at Tata Memorial Hospital are reported here.

Materials and Methods:

During 1980-2000, 1,022 pathological Stage I/II breast cancer patients (median age 43 years) underwent BCT (wide excision, complete axillary clearance, whole breast radiotherapy with 6 MV photons plus tumor bed boost, ± systemic therapy). Median pathological tumor size was 3 cm (1-5 cm). Axillary node metastases were found in 39% women. Of the 938 patients with IDC, 70% were Grade III and in patients where receptor status was known, 209/625 (33%) were ER positive and 245/591 (41%) were PR positive.


The 5- and 10-year actuarial overall survival was 87% and 77% and diseasefree survival was 76% and 68%, respectively. Actuarial 5-year local and locoregional control rates were 91% and 87%, respectively. Cosmesis was good or excellent in 78% women. Independent adverse prognostic factors for local recurrence were, age < 40 years, axillary node metastasis, lymphovascular invasion (LVI), and adjuvant systemic therapy; for locoregional recurrence—inner quadrant tumor, axillary node metastasis, and LVI; for survival—LVI and axillary node metastasis.


Compared to Caucasians, these Indian women undergoing BCT were younger, had larger, higher grade, and receptor negative tumors. Comparable local control and survival was obtained by using stringent quality assurance in the diagnostic and therapeutic protocol. BCT, a resource intense treatment is safe for selected and motivated patients undergoing treatment at centers with adequate facilities and expertise even in countries with limited resources.

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