, Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 883-887
Date: 20 Jan 2010

Changing clinical presentation of angiosarcomas after breast cancer: from late tumors in edematous arms to earlier tumors on the thoracic wall

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Angiosarcoma is a rare complication of breast cancer treatment. In order to define predictors, clinical presentation, and outcome, we characterized a population-based 50-year cohort of angiosarcomas after breast cancer. Clinical data were collected from all females with previous breast cancer who developed angiosarcomas/lymphangiosarcomas on the thoracic wall/upper extremity between 1958 and 2008 in the Southern Swedish health care region. In total, 31 angiosarcomas developed at a median age of 71 years. The patients formed two distinct groups; 14 females treated for breast cancer with radical mastectomy and radiotherapy 1949–1988 developed angiosarcomas in edematous arms (Stewart–Treves syndrome) after median 11 years, and 17 females treated by segmental resection, anti-hormonal treatment and radiotherapy 1980–2005 developed angiosarcomas in the irradiated field on the thoracic wall after median 7.3 years. The clinical presentations were heterogeneous and included hematoma-like lesions, multiple bluish-reddish nodules, and asymptomatic lumps. The overall 5-year survival was 16%. In this population-based cohort, the early angiosarcomas developed in edematous arms after radical mastectomies, whereas more recent cases occurred after a shorter time period in the irradiated fields following breast conserving surgery. We conclude that the clinical presentation of angiosarcomas has changed, parallel with altered treatment principles for breast cancer.