Despite improvements in the early detection of breast cancer, locally advanced breast cancer
(LABC) involving the chest wall exists in developing countries. Surgical resection remains a controversial management option. This study aims to demonstrate the value of chest wall reconstructive techniques for large LABC defects and report long-term outcomes.
Materials and Methods
We report a 10-years single-unit experience in the reconstruction of large defects (>300 cm2
). From 2007 to 2017, all LABC cases managed with large surgical resection with immediate microsurgical chest wall reconstruction
were included in this study. Herein, we present the demographics, comorbidities, clinicopathological LABC characteristics, surgical techniques (free flap choice, recipient vessels), and outcomes (survival, complication, cosmesis, and patient satisfaction).
Of the 104 LABC cases, free deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap was performed in 41 (39.4%) cases, free anterolateral thigh flap in 5 (4.8%), free deep inferior epigastric artery perforator combined with pedicled transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap in 23 (22.1%), free muscle-sparing transverse rectus abdominis muscle flap in 30 (28.9%), and free transverse upper gracilis flap in 5 (4.8%). Complications were low. Over a median follow-up of 49.5 months, the 3-year local recurrence rate and distant metastasis–free survival were 13.9% and 84.9%, respectively. In addition, the 3-year disease-free survival and overall survival were 84.2% and 92.0%, respectively. The rate of excellent and good ratings by the esthetic assessment panel was 83.0%, and the patient satisfaction rate was 90.0%.
Wide resection and microvascular free tissue transfer is oncologically safe in LABC with huge tumors and provides versatile solutions for the reconstruction of extensive chest wall defects. With favorable long-term survival and cosmetic outcomes, surgical resection of LABC combined with flap reconstruction may offer a practical approach in difficult and complicated cases.
Implications for Practice
In this retrospective review, it was demonstrated that wide resection followed by distinct chest wall reconstructive free flaps transfer is oncologically safe in LABC with huge tumors and provides useful solutions for the reconstruction of extensive chest wall defects.