Recurrent breast cancer: presentation, diagnosis, and treatment

Semin Oncol. 1993 Oct;20(5):538-47.


Patients must be followed up closely after primary therapy for invasive breast cancer so that locoregional recurrences can be detected early. Once a recurrence has been detected, a thorough evaluation is indicated to exclude distant metastatic disease. If none is found, the patient may be a candidate for aggressive surgical intervention to render the patient disease-free. If distant disease is found, certain sites, such as the CNS or long bones, may warrant aggressive therapy because failure to treat these sites may lead to excessive morbidity. In most situations, patients with distant disease are treated with palliative measures. In selected instances, however, patients with metastatic breast cancer are candidates for aggressive intervention, including pulmonary or liver resection or high-dose chemotherapy in combination with autologous bone marrow transplantation, to rid the patient of the disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / secondary
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Mastectomy / methods
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local* / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local* / surgery
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local* / therapy
  • Palliative Care
  • Radiotherapy
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / secondary


  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Cisplatin
  • Fluorouracil
  • Methotrexate

Supplementary concepts

  • CAF protocol
  • CMF protocol