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Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma Responds to Surgery

breast-cancer self examRecent research indicates that definitive surgery with implant removal and total capsulectomy (removal of scar tissue around the implant) is the best treatment option for anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) that is associated with breast implants. This research was presented at a meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgery.

During the research, researchers reviewed all published cases covering 1997 to 2015. The research also reviewed unpublished cases at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Twenty seven patients in advanced stages were contacted. Treatment procedures and outcomes were compared to a control group. This group of 65 patients had ALCL with aggressive characteristic.

Definitive surgery was used to treat 16 patients; 19 patients underwent limited surgery, and 24 patients were treated via chemotherapy. Other patients underwent other procedures including:

  • 11 patients — salvage chemotherapy
  • 15 patients — radiation
  • 5 patients — autologous stem cell transplant


No patients who underwent definitive surgery died.

According to Charles E. Butler, M.D., president-elect of The Plastic Surgery Foundation, “Definitive surgery with implant removal and total capsulectomy appears to the optimal primary treatment for patients with BI-ALCL.” He continues in saying that the results of the study present a positive message for the treatability of this disease.

Mark Clemens, M.D. a study researcher says that the FDA and the Plastic Surgery Foundation has been conducting the research and analyzing the occurrences of ALCL in order to provide a better understanding, as well as educating both physicians and patients. He says, “The cutting-edge research … is evidence of our role working to bring together the most leading-edge clinical information to enhance patient satisfaction and lead the way in advancing patient safety.”

In a press release from the FDA and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the groups indicated that implants are reasonably safe and effective.

Dr. Thomas Wright, medical director of the Laser Lipo and Vein Center states that these findings are impressive. He also says that the researchers have asked physicians to report confirmed ALCL cases in order to continue the study. He states, “It is important to patient safety that this type of leading-edge research continue. It is in the best interest of all concerned that we understand the implications of breast implants and ALCL.”

He also states that breast implants have a high level of patient safety, and that the risk of developing ALCL is very low.