[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the frequency and pattern of metastatic disease as detected by staging computed tomography in patients presenting with locally advanced primary breast cancer, comparing non-inflammatory and inflammatory subtypes.
Patients who underwent staging computed tomography for locally advanced breast cancer were identified from the hospital's computerised radiology system. The computed tomography scans, breast imaging and pathology were reviewed.
Over a 29 month period, 97 patients underwent staging computed tomography for locally advanced primary breast cancer. Sixteen patients (16%) were found to have metastatic disease at presentation. Thirty-eight patients (39%) presented with the inflammatory subtype and 59 patients (61%) with the non-inflammatory subtype. Metastases were significantly more likely in patients with the inflammatory subtype, with 10 patients (26%) having metastases at presentation compared with six patients (10%) with the non-inflammatory subtype (P=0.034). Metastases to the lung and the pleura were the most commonly encountered sites, with pleural-based metastases more likely in patients with the inflammatory subtype (P=0.05).
Routine computed tomography staging of patients with locally advanced breast cancer is worthwhile with the inflammatory subtype of locally advanced disease having the higher risk of metastatic disease at presentation. Pleural-based metastatic disease is more likely in patients with the inflammatory subtype.