Surgery after Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy: A Clip-Based Technique to Improve Surgical Outcomes, a Single-Center Experience

Abstract

SIMPLE SUMMARY: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) has an important role in the treatment of locally advanced breast cancer. After NACT, some lesions may be no longer visible at preoperative imaging, making breast and axillary conservative surgery more difficult. Among others, radiopaque clips are the most commonly used method to mark lymph nodes and tumor sites to tailor surgery in the post neoadjuvant setting. ABSTRACT: Background: This study aims to describe the surgical management of breast cancer patients after neoadjuvant chemotherapy, with attention to the impact on surgical outcomes of a clip-based marking technique. Methods: Patients who underwent NACT at the Breast Unit of the A. O Ordine Mauriziano of Turin from January 2018 and had a surgical intervention by January 2022 were included. Data on the feasibility of clip insertion, after-treatment visibility, and successful removal during surgery were collected prospectively. Surgical outcomes in terms of breast-conserving surgery and axillary dissection reduction were described. Results: In 51 patients who had surgery after NACT, 55 clips were placed (34 breast and 21 axillary clips). Ultrasound visibility of the clips was optimal (91%) as well as preoperative localization and retrieval within the surgical specimen. Moreover, the use of the clip positively affected surgical outcomes. In our study, clip insertion allowed to avoid mastectomy and axillary dissection in patients with a complete radiological response. Conclusions: In our findings, the use of breast and/or lymph node clips has proved to be a simple and effective method to improve surgical conservative management of breast cancer patients after NACT

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