Indexed on: 26 Nov '11Published on: 26 Nov '11Published in: Expert review of anticancer therapy
Approximately 5-10% of patients with breast cancer present with distant metastasis (stage IV disease) at diagnosis. Systemic therapy is usually the main treatment for these patients. Other than in the context of palliation, the use of radical locoregional therapy, such as surgery or radiotherapy, is controversial. Recent studies have suggested that definitive locoregional treatment of the primary breast tumor can improve survival for patients presenting with metastatic breast cancer. This article reviews available literature pertaining to the benefits and disadvantages of locoregional treatment, focusing on data from institutional and registry studies. The effect of locoregional treatment on outcome for patients with stage IV breast cancer and related key issues will be discussed. Information on ongoing prospective randomized trials designed to address this issue will be provided.