, Volume 36, Issue 7, pp 1460-1474

Breast Cancer Local Therapy: What Is Its Effect on Mortality?

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Until recently, the concept of biological predeterminism appeared pre-eminent and a worthy successor to the Halstedian doctrine of centrifugal spread of cancer. However, evidence has now emerged from clinical trials to cast doubt on the universal application of this concept to breast tumors. Prevention of local recurrence can save lives, local control does matter, and rates of local recurrence should be minimized in the first 5 years. In up to one quarter of cases of local recurrence the locally recurring disease will be a determinant and not simply a marker of risk for distant relapse and death. Both types of local recurrence are manifestations of the same biological processes and reflect intrinsic behavior of the tumor. This principle applies to reduction in local relapse from both adjuvant radiotherapy and surgical modalities.