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September 1959

Lymphangiosarcoma in Postmastectomy Lymphedematous Arm

Author Affiliations

Ann Arbor, Mich.
From the Departments of Surgery, University of Michigan Medical Center and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.

AMA Arch Surg. 1959;79(3):440-446. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320090088013

The relative infrequency of lymphangiosarcoma in the edematous arm following radical mastectomy has made it difficult to establish reliable diagnostic and therapeutic criteria. Histologically the disease is easily confused with malignant melanoma or with Kaposi's sarcoma. No successful treatment has yet been devised. Since Stewart and Treves first reported the syndrome in 1948, 31 similar cases have been added to the literature.

The two case histories below are reported in order to add to the increasing knowledge of the recognition and care of this rapidly fatal complication of a common surgical disease.

Case 1.  —A 52-year-old white woman underwent a left radical mastectomy in 1950 for an adenocarcinoma of the breast. After the operation the patient received roentgen therapy consisting of an unknown amount directed to her left axilla. After the roentgen therapy she developed lymphedema of the left arm, most marked above the elbow. The patient remained well until

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