Differentiating Primary and Recurrent Lesions in Patients with a History of Breast Cancer: A Comprehensive Review

Differentiating Primary and Recurrent Lesions in Patients with BC


  • Anita Zarghami Department of Surgery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Seyed Abbas Mirmalek Department of Surgery, Tehran Medical Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Breast cancer (BC) recurrence remains a concerning issue, requiring accurate identification and differentiation from primary lesions for optimal patient management. This comprehensive review aims to summarize and evaluate the current evidence on methods to distinguish primary breast tumors from recurrent lesions in patients with a history of BC. Also, we provide a comprehensive understanding of the different imaging techniques, including mammography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, and positron emission tomography, highlighting their diagnostic accuracy, limitations, and potential integration. In addition, the role of various biopsy modalities and molecular markers was explored. Furthermore, the potential role of liquid biopsy, circulating tumor cells, and circulating tumor DNA in differentiating between primary and recurrent BC was emphasized. Finally, it addresses emerging diagnostic modalities, such as radiomic analysis and artificial intelligence, which show promising potential in enhancing diagnostic accuracy. Through comprehensive analysis and review of the available literature, the current study provides an up-to-date understanding of the current state of knowledge, challenges, and future directions in accurately distinguishing between primary and recurrent breast lesions in patients with a history of BC.


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