Repeat breast-conserving treatment of ipsilateral breast cancer recurrence: a nationwide survey amongst breast surgeons and radiation oncologists in the Netherlands

Coco J. E. F. Walstra*, Robert-Jan Schipper, Yvonne E. van Riet, Peter-Paul G. van der Toorn, Marjolein L. Smidt, Maurice J. C. vd Sangen, Adri C. Voogd, Grard A. P. Nieuwenhuijzen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background In line with the paradigm to minimize surgical morbidity in patients with primary breast cancer, there is increasing evidence for the safety of a repeat breast-conserving treatment (BCT) of an ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence (IBTR) in selected patients. The conditions for the feasibility of a repeat BCT vary widely in literature. In clinical practice, many physicians have ongoing concerns about the oncological safety and possible toxicity of repeat BCT. Aim To investigate the attitude of Dutch breast surgeons and radiation oncologists towards repeat BCT and to report on their experiences with, objections against and perceived requirements to consider a repeat BCT in case of IBTR. Patients and methods An online survey consisting of a maximum of 26 open and multiple-choice questions about repeat BCT for IBTR was distributed amongst Dutch breast surgeons and radiation oncologists. Results Forty-nine surgeons representing 49% of Dutch hospitals and 20 radiation oncologists representing 70% of Dutch radiation oncology centres responded. A repeat BCT was considered feasible in selected cases by 28.7% of breast surgeons and 55% of radiation oncologists. The most important factors to consider a repeat BCT for both groups were the patient's preference to preserve the breast and surgical feasibility of a second lumpectomy. Arguments against a repeat BCT were based on the perceived unacceptable toxicity and cosmesis of a second course of radiotherapy. The technique of preference for re-irradiation would be partial breast irradiation (PBI) according to all radiation oncologists. Differentiating between new primary tumours (NPT) and true recurrences (TR) was reported to be done by 57.1% of breast surgeons and 60% of radiation oncologists. The most important reason to differentiate between NPT and TR was to establish prognosis and to consider whether a repeat BCT would be feasible. Conclusion An increasing number of Dutch breast cancer specialists is considering a repeat BCT feasible in selected cases, at the patient's preference and with partial breast re-irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-514
Number of pages16
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Survey
  • IBTR
  • Recurrent breast cancer
  • Repeat breast-conserving treatment
  • Re-irradiation

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