Original study| Volume 13, ISSUE 5, P344-349, October 2013

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Localized Therapy for Male Breast Cancer: Functional Advantages With Comparable Outcomes Using Breast Conservation



      Male breast cancer (MBC) accounts for approximately 1% of all breast cancers. Given the rarity of this disease, treatment of MBC generally follows the same principles as treatment of female breast cancer. However, the traditional surgical approach for MBC is modified radical mastectomy (MRM) or total simple mastectomy (TSM) instead of breast conservation surgery (BCS). The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of BCS as an alternative to mastectomy for MBC with respect to musculoskeletal functionality and treatment outcome.

      Patients and Methods

      A retrospective analysis was undertaken of all male patients with breast cancer who presented to Massachusetts General Hospital or Boston Medical Center for localized therapy from 1990 to 2003. Musculoskeletal functionality (tissue fibrosis, arm edema, and range of motion) and treatment outcome (local-regional control, disease-free survival, and overall survival) were evaluated. Functional/cosmetic outcomes were assessed by multidisciplinary review of patient follow-up visits and were scored as either “good-excellent” or “fair-poor” to account for subjectivity between different clinicians.


      Forty-two patients in total were identified to undergo localized treatment. Thirty patients (71%) received MRM, 4 (10%) had TSM, and 8 (19%) underwent BCS. Actuarial overall 1-year fair-poor documented tissue fibrosis, arm edema, and decreased range of motion rates were 13%, 23%, and 27% for patients receiving MRM; 25%, 0%, and 50% for patients who underwent TSM; and 13%, 0%, and 0% for those undergoing BCS, respectively. Overall survival and disease-free survival were not statistically different between the groups.


      These data suggest that breast conservation therapy may be considered a reasonable local treatment option for male patients presenting with breast cancer because it may offer functional advantages over mastectomy with comparable rates of local control and disease-free survival and overall survival.


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