Eligible for Breast Conserving Therapy, Many Still Choose Mastectomy

“No approved targeted therapies exist to treat triple-negative breast cancer, but new chemotherapeutic treatment strategies are helping shrink tumors so that less breast tissue needs to be removed during surgery. New research led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in collaboration with the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center finds that breast-conserving therapy – or the removal of less breast tissue via a lumpectomy – was successful in more than 90 percent of the women who became eligible for this procedure after treatment with chemotherapy. Despite these findings, 31 percent who were eligible for breast conserving therapy chose to have the entire breast removed via mastectomy.

“The complete manuscript of this study and its presentation at the American Surgical Association’s 135th annual meeting today in San Diego, California, is anticipated to be published in the Annals of Surgery pending editorial review.

“ ‘We’ve shown that we can offer breast-conserving therapy to more women using these drug combinations, and if they convert, we’re really successful,’ said senior author David Ollila, MD, James and Jesse Millis Distinguished Professor of Surgery at University of North Carolina School of Medicine, co-director of the UNC Breast Program and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.  ‘We have more and more women eligible for breast preservation, and still we saw more than 30 percent of women choosing mastectomy.’ “