Conservative surgery and irradiation (QUART) in the treatment of 243 stage I-II breast cancer patients

G. Gasparini, G. A. Panizzoni, S. Dal Fior, B. Germani, F. Dall'Antonia, G. Segato, S. Meli, F. Pozza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From 1980 to 1987, 243 evaluable patients with pT1, pT2 (less than 3 centimeters in diameter), N0, M0, invasive breast cancer were treated with 'quadrantectomy' with axillary dissection followed by electron beam radiation therapy (QUART) at the St. Bortolo Hospital, Vicenza. Stage II patients received adjuvant chemotherapy (CMF) if preperimenopausal or hormonotherapy (tamoxifen) if postmenopausal. The median follow-up was 54 months (26 to 116 months). The 4.5-year overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were respectively 91% and 85%; the 10-year actuarially estimated OS and DFS was 77%. Thirty-three patients relapsed, 11 of whom had local recurrence, and 23 developed distant metastases. A significantly longer OS and DFS were observed in stage I versus stage II (p=0.0008) and in pT1 versus pT2 (p=0.001) tumors. No difference was found regarding menopausal status and histotype. The local control of disease was very high (95.5%) with a significantly higher local recurrence rate in premenopausal women compared to postmenopausal (10/117 versus 1/126; p=0.009). Tumor size did not influence the frequency of local recurrence. No major complications occurred but a significantly higher rate of reversible radiation-pneumonitis occurred in patients treated with higher energies of electrons (17 to 20 MeV) compared with lower (6 to 13 MeV) (33/177 versus 7/66; p <0.05). Cosmetic results were judged as excellent in 20%, satisfactory in 68%, unsatisfactory in 6% and not evaluable in 6% of cases. We conclude first, that small pT2 breast carcinomas may also be safely treated with QUART, second, that the electron beam is a radiotherapeutic technique able to produce a good cosmetic result and to assure a satisfactory local control and, finally, that the use of tamoxifen in postmenopausal stage II breast carcinomas is safe and easy to combine with radiotherapy in the conservative management of early breast cancer due to the lower toxic effects, compared to those observed in premenopausal women treated with chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1635-1640
Number of pages6
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • Conservative treatment of early breast cancer
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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