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The International Consensus Guidelines for advanced breast cancer (ABC) considers that the surgery of the primary tumor for stage IV breast cancer patients does not usually improve the survival. However, studies have showed that resection of the primary tumor may benefit these patients. The correlation between surgery and survival remains unclear.The impact of surgery and other clinical factors on overall survival (OS) of stage IV patients is investigated in West China Hospital. Female patients diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer between 1999 and 2014 were included (N = 223). Univariate and multivariate analysis assessed the association between surgery and OS.One hundred seventy-seven (79.4%) underwent surgery for the primary tumor, and 46 (20.6%) had no surgery. No significant differences were observed in age at diagnosis, T-stage, N-stage, histological grade, molecular subtype, hormone receptor (HR), and number of metastatic sites between 2 groups. Patients in the surgery group had dramatically longer OS (45.6 vs 21.3 months, log-rank P < .001). In univariate analysis, survival was associated with surgical treatment, residence, tumor size, lymph node, HR status, hormonal therapy, and radiotherapy. In multivariate analysis, surgery was an independent prognostic factor for OS [hazard ratio (HR), 0.569; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.329–0.984, P = .044]. Additional independent prognostic factors were hormonal therapy (HR, 0.490; 95% CI 0.300–0.800) and radiotherapy (HR, 0.490; 95% CI 0.293–0.819). In addition, a favorable impact of surgery was observed by subgroup analysis.Our study showed that surgery of the primary breast tumor has a positive impact on OS in with stage IV breast cancer patients.