, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 391-397
Date: 29 Mar 2005

Paget’s Disease of the Breast: There Is a Role for Breast-Conserving Therapy

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The optimal surgical management of Paget’s disease of the breast remains to be defined. Mastectomy has been the standard of care, but several institutions have recently advocated breast-conserving surgery, particularly for patients with minimal disease. In an effort to develop rational treatment guidelines, we examined our institutional experience with Paget’s disease of the breast.


Patients with Paget’s disease of the breast who had surgical therapy at our institution between 1949 and 1993 were reviewed. In addition to patient and tumor characteristics, charts were reviewed for treatment modalities, locoregional recurrence patterns, and survival. Subgroups were compared for differences in survival in both univariate and multivariate analyses.


A total of 104 patients met the study criteria. The most common presenting symptoms were nipple discharge and eczematous changes of the nipple/areola complex. Ninety-seven patients (93.2%) had an underlying invasive or noninvasive cancer associated with Paget’s disease. Ninety-two patients (88.5%) underwent mastectomy, and 12 (11.5%) had a breast-conserving procedure. On univariate analysis, patients with age <60 years at diagnosis, stage II disease, positive lymph nodes, invasive disease, or a palpable mass had significantly lower 10-year disease-specific and recurrence-free survival. There were four locoregional recurrences (three after mastectomy and one after breast conservation). There were no significant differences in overall, disease-specific, or recurrence-free survival according to the type of surgery.


Paget’s disease of the breast is almost always associated with an underlying breast cancer. Breast-conserving approaches result in local control and survival rates similar to those achieved with mastectomy.

Presented in part at the 26th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, San Antonio, Texas, December 2-6, 2003.
Published by Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. © 2005 The Society of Surgical Oncology, Inc.