Radiation-induced breast sarcoma



      The purpose of this study was to examine the presentation, treatment, and prognosis of patients with radiation-induced sarcomas after adjuvant radiotherapy for breast cancer.


      This was a retrospective review from 1975 to 2001 of patients who presented with a sarcoma in an irradiated field after surgical treatment for breast cancer.


      Thirty-four women were included. Six had undergone breast-conserving therapy and 28 had mastectomy for primary breast carcinoma. All patients received postoperative radiation. The mean time to diagnosis of sarcoma was 152 months (range 40 to 372). Twenty-three of 34 patients (68%) had recurrence of the sarcoma after resection, and 22 patients (65%) died of their disease. Patients with no evidence of disease at follow-up had a mean tumor size of 4.2 cm ± 0.7 (n = 6), compared with 8.1 cm ± 1.2 (n = 10) for patients who died of their disease (P = 0.030).


      Radiation-induced sarcoma is a late complication of definitive treatment for breast carcinoma. The prognosis of such patients is poor, with two thirds dying of their disease. In the present series, improved survival was associated with smaller tumor size at presentation.


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