Purpose: To assess the value of screening ultrasonography (US) in the detection of nonpalpable locoregional recurrence following mastectomy for breast cancer and to describe the US appearances of occult recurrent cancers. Materials and methods: During a 36-month period, 1180 consecutive US screenings were performed for mastectomy sites and ipsilateral axillary fossae in 468 asymptomatic women who had undergone mastectomy for breast cancer. All US results were divided into three groups: negative findings, probably benign nodules, and suspicious for malignant nodules. The final diagnoses were based on pathology results and clinical or sonographic follow-up for more than 12 months. The diagnostic performance of US for detecting nonpalpable locoregional recurrence was assessed. The US appearances of occult recurrent cancers were retrospectively reviewed. Results: Of the 468 patients assessed, 19 (4.1%) showed "suspicious for malignant nodules"; of these lesions, 10 were malignant. One false-negative case was identified. The sensitivity and specificity were 90.9% and 98.0%, respectively. A biopsy positive predictive value of 52.6% was observed. Cancer detection rates were 2.1% with US screenings of mastectomy sites and ipsilateral axillary fossae. The common US features of occult recurrences at the mastectomy sites were irregular shaped, not-circumscribed marginated, and hypoechoic masses with intratumoral vascularities. The most common location was within the deep muscle layer. Conclusion: Although locoregional recurrence infrequently occurs after mastectomy for breast cancer, screening US enables detection of nonpalpable cancer before it can be detected by clinical examination. Routine follow-up US can be advocated for early detection of nonpalpable locoregional recurrent cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging