Primary tumor location predicts the site of local relapse after nipple–areola complex (NAC) sparing mastectomy

Nicoletta Tomasi Cont, Furio Maggiorotto, Laura Martincich, Alessandro Rivolin, Franziska Kubatzki, Paola Sgandurra, Francesco Marocco, Alessandra Magistris, Marco Gatti, Davide Balmativola, Filippo Montemurro, Anna Sapino, Riccardo Ponzone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To assess the oncological safety of nipple–areola complex (NAC) sparing mastectomy in breast cancer patients. Methods: From 2010 to 2015, 518 breast cancer patients were submitted to NAC sparing mastectomy. Breast MRI and intraoperative assessment of the subareolar (SD) and proximal (ND) nipple ducts were performed to predict NAC involvement. Significant associations between pre- and postoperative variables with SD/ND involvement and with the risk of local recurrence were retrospectively investigated. Results: SD/ND were involved in 26.1% of the cases. Final pathology of SD/ND was predicted by tumor–NAC distance at MRI and intraoperative pathology with 75 and 93% accuracy, respectively. NAC involvement was more frequent in case of positive ND than positive SD (68.3 vs. 38.3%; p = 0.003). Fourteen (2.7%) local relapses developed over a mean follow-up of 33 months. Ki-67 ≥25% (p = 0.002) and high tumor grade (p = 0.027) correlated with local recurrence. Most relapses developed in the subcutaneous tissue of the quadrant where the primary tumor was located (12/14; 85.7%). No local relapses occurred in patients who received post-mastectomy radiotherapy as compared to patients who did not, although they had a higher rate of positive surgical margins (40.5 vs. 16.2%; p = 0.000). Conclusions: NAC involvement can be predicted by MRI and intraoperative pathology of ND/SD. Local recurrences after NAC sparing mastectomy almost invariably develop in the same quadrant where the primary tumor was located and in highly proliferative tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages11
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Breast cancer
  • Local relapse
  • Mastectomy
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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