Oligometastatic breast cancer: a shift from palliative to potentially curative treatment?

Breast Care (Basel). 2014 Feb;9(1):7-14. doi: 10.1159/000358750.


A distinctive subset of metastatic breast cancer is represented by the so called 'oligometastatic' disease, characterized by single/few detectable metastatic lesions. A more aggressive multidisciplinary approach can be considered in this patient population: available data report favorable results of 'radical' local therapy for limited metastatic disease at least in a subset of selected patients. Selection bias and the retrospective nature of data do not allow for generalization of the results: the use of such approaches must be individualized and managed within a multidisciplinary team of dedicated specialists. Improvement in surgical and radiation techniques, development of new tools to deliver local chemotherapy, and new procedures (i.e. cryosurgery, laser and microwave ablation) mandate careful evaluation of such single and combined modalities in controlled clinical trials. A more accurate identification of patients with limited metastases and better definition of treatment endpoints will also allow correct patient selection for locally aggressive therapies. This paper focusses on local treatment of the primary tumor and of the most frequent distant disease sites in the presence of oligometastatic disease.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Multi-disciplinary team; Oligometastatic disease; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review