Surgical closure of chest wall in noninflammatory locally advanced breast carcinoma with ulceration of the skin

Stefano Martella, Mujgan Caliskan, Fabricio P. Brenelli, Fabio Rossetto, Heliegina Aparecida De Oliveira, Luciana Naira Brito De Lima, Camelia Chifu, Julia Rodriguez-Fernandez, Jean Yves Petit, Alberto Luini

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Patients with noninflammatory locally advanced breast cancer with ulceration of skin or muscle or parietal wall infiltration, better named ''extended locally advanced breast cancer,'' may require cancer surgery and plastic reconstruction of the chest wall after multidisciplinary evaluation. The decision is made to improve quality of life, independently of prognosis, and severity of the disease. The aim of this study is to evaluate the best method for surgical closure of the chest wall and to check whether ablative surgery is an appropriate procedure in regards to the treatment of cancer. From October 1997 to June 2006, 27 patients with noninflammatory extended locally advanced breast cancer with ulceration of the skin, who were not candidate or did not respond to a neo-adjuvant treatment, underwent radical mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Sixteen patients (59%) were affected by primary tumors of the breast, and eleven patients (41%) had local recurrence after mastectomy or conservative breast surgery. Two main techniques were used for breast reconstruction: transverse rectus-abdominis musculo cutaneous flap in 19 patients (70%), and a fasciocutaneous flap in eight patients (30%). The best procedure in each patient was chosen according to the extent of skin loss or previous radiotherapy to the chest wall. Fourteen patients (52%) died during the follow-up and the median length of survival was 16 months (range 3-79) in transverse rectus-abdominis musculo cutaneous group and 4 months (range 2-23) in fasciocutaneous flap group. The median length of follow-up after treatment for patients still alive was 32.5 months (range 0-96) in transverse rectus-abdominis musculo cutaneous flap group, and 18 months (range 8-41) in fasciocutaneous flap group. At the end of the follow-up, 10 patients were alive without evidence of disease and three patients developed metastatic lesion or local recurrence. The longest recorded disease free interval for a patient still alive and tumor free was 96 months. Only three patients (11%) had local complications: two wound infections and one partial necrosis of the transverse rectus-abdominis musculo cutaneous flap. Median hospital stay was 7 days (range 3-13) for transverse rectus-abdominis musculo cutaneous and 6 days (range 3-13) for fasciocutaneous flap. Our results confirmed that transverse rectus-abdominis musculo cutaneous group and fasciocutaneous flap flaps are good reconstructive options in patients with extended locally advanced breast cancer. Quality of life has improved in this group of patients, with acceptable survival periods and in some cases very important survival rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-352
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Fasciocutaneous flap
  • Locally advanced breast carcinoma
  • Skin involvement
  • Thoracic wall involvement
  • Transverse rectus-abdominis musculo cutaneous flap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)


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