Distant metastasis dynamics following subsequent surgeries after primary breast cancer removal

Romano Demicheli, Hanna Dillekås, Oddbjørn Straume, Elia Biganzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The aim of the research was to separate the distant metastasis (DM) enhancing effect due to breast tumour removal from that due to surgical manoeuvre by itself. Methods: DM dynamics following surgery for ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence (IBTR), contralateral breast cancer (CBC) and delayed reconstruction (REC), which was performed after the original breast cancer surgical removal, was analysed. A total of 338 patients with IBTR, 239 with CBC and 312 with REC were studied. Results: The DM dynamics following IBTR, CBC and REC, when assessed with time origin at their surgical treatment, is similar to the analogous pattern following primary tumour removal, with a first major peak at about 18 months and a second lower one at about 5 years from surgery. The time span between primary tumour removal and the second surgery is influential on DM risk levels for IBTR and CBC patients, not for REC patients. Conclusions: The role of breast tumour removal is different from the role of surgery by itself. Our findings suggest that the major effect of reconstructive surgery is microscopic metastasis acceleration, while breast tumour surgical removal (either primary or IBTR or CBC) involves both tumour homeostasis interruption and microscopic metastasis growth acceleration. The removal of a breast tumour would eliminate its homeostatic restrains on metastatic foci, thus allowing metastasis development, which, in turn, would be supported by the forwarding action of the mechanisms triggered by the surgical wounding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number57
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2 2019


  • Breast cancer
  • Metastasis development
  • Recurrence dynamics
  • Second surgery
  • Surgery-related metastasis acceleration
  • Tumour homeostasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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