Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Women who undergo immediate breast reconstruction with nipple-sparing mastectomy or skin-sparing mastectomy while on chemotherapy for breast cancer have similar rates of survival and disease recurrence as those who have a conventional mastectomy, study published Wednesday by JAMA Surgery reported.
Researchers said data on the safety of performing mastectomy and reconstruction has been "insufficient" compared with conventional mastectomy -- performed after cancer treatment -- but the new study suggests it is an effective and safe treatment method.
The analysis of breast cancer patients at Asan Medical Center in Seoul found that rates of localized disease recurrence -- or the development of tumors in the same area -- were 3.7% for women who underwent immediate breast reconstruction and 3.4% for those who had a conventional mastectomy, the data showed.
Meanwhile, just over 17% of the women who had an immediate breast reconstruction suffered a distant metastases -- or cancer that spread to other areas of the body -- while nearly 19% of those who opted for a conventional mastectomy did so, the researchers said.
In addition, after 10 years, overall survival among women who had immediate breast construction was 92%, compared to 89% for those who had a conventional mastectomy, according to the researchers.
"In this study, there was no significant difference in prognosis between the two groups during the follow-up period," the researchers wrote.
"Further studies should be conducted in more patients with axillary [lymph node] metastasis" -- or cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes, they said.
About one in eight women in the United States will suffer from breast cancer during their lifetime, and about 300,000 are diagnosed with the disease annually, according to BreastCancer.org.
Just over half of women with breast cancer nationally opt for immediate breast reconstruction following mastectomy, research suggests.
For this study, the South Korean researchers compared outcomes in 626 women with breast cancer, half of whom opted for immediate breast reconstruction, while the rest had a conventional mastectomy.
About 7% of the women who had immediate breast reconstruction experienced regional disease recurrence, compared to 5.3% of those who had conventional mastectomy, the data showed.
Five-year, local tumor recurrence-free survival was 96% among women who had immediate breast reconstruction and 97% for those who had conventional mastectomy, according to the researchers.
Disease-free survival was also comparable between the two groups -- 77% versus 80% -- as was distant metastasis-free survival -- both 83% -- the researchers said.
"The long-term oncologic outcomes of immediate breast reconstruction with nipple-sparing mastectomy or skin-sparing mastectomy for breast cancer in this study appeared to be comparable to those of conventional mastectomy alone after neoadjuvant chemotherapy," the researchers wrote.