, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 375-380

Immediate breast reconstruction for stage III breast cancer using transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous (TRAM) flap

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Background: The management of stage III breast cancer is challenging; it often includes multimodal treatment with systemic therapy and/or radiation therapy and surgery. Immediate breast reconstruction has not traditionally been performed in these patients. We review the results of immediate transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous (TRAM) flap in 21 patients treated for stage III breast cancer.

Methods: Data have been collected retrospectively on 21 patients diagnosed with stage III breast cancer between 1987 and 1994. All patients had mastectomy and immediate TRAM reconstruction. Thirteen patients received primary systemic therapy, 10 patients received postoperative consolidation radiotherapy to the operative site, and 3 patients received preoperative radiation.

Results: Mean follow-up for the group was 26 months. Two patients died with disseminated disease: neither of them developed local disease recurrence in the operative site; 82% of the patients followed for at least two years are free of disease. Sixty-two percent of the patients received preoperative chemotherapy, the remaining patients received postoperative multiagent chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Two of the patients received autologous bone marrow transplants after their adjuvant therapy. Ten patients had postoperative radiotherapy for consolidation; three patients received preoperative radiation.

Conclusions: Immediate TRAM reconstruction for stage III breast cancer is not associated with a delay in adjuvant therapy or an increased risk of local relapse. It facilitates wide resection of involved skin without skin grafting. Radiation therapy can be delivered to the reconstructed breast when indicated without difficulty. Breast reconstruction facilitates surgical resection of stage III breast cancer with primary closure and should be considered if the patient desires immediate breast reconstruction.

Results of this study were presented at the 48th Annual Cancer Symposium of The Society of Surgical Oncology, Boston, Massachusetts, March 23–26, 1995.