The Role of Primary Surgery in De Novo Metastatic Breast Carcinoma

Eur J Breast Health. 2023 Apr 1;19(2):110-114. doi: 10.4274/ejbh.galenos.2023.2023-3-7. eCollection 2023 Apr.


Approximately 6-10% of all breast carcinoma is metastatic at diagnosis, termed de novo metastatic breast carcinoma (dnMBC). Systemic therapy remains the first line of treatment in dnMBC, but there is growing evidence that adjuvant locoregional treatment (LRT) of the primary tumor increases progression-free and overall survival (OS). Although selection bias may exist, real-world data from nearly half a million patients show that patients are undergoing primary tumor removal because of the survival benefit. The main question for the advocates for LRT in this patient population is not whether primary surgery is beneficial in dnMBC patients, but rather who is a good candidate for it. Oligometastatic disease (OMD) is a distinct subset of dnMBC that affects a limited number of organs. A better OS can be achieved with LRT in breast cancer patients, especially in those with OMD, bone only, or favorable subtypes. Though there is currently no consensus among breast care specialists on how to treat dnMBC patients, primary surgery for dnMBC should be taken into consideration for a subset of patients following an extensive multidisciplinary discussion.

Keywords: Locoregional treatment; metastatic breast carcinoma; oligometastatic disease; survival; systemic therapy.

Publication types

  • Review