Treatment Phyllodes


Phyllodes tumors are removed surgically, whatever the gradation (benign, borderline, or malignant). Breast-conserving removal is often possible, but in some cases the entire breast needs to be removed. It is not necessary to remove any lymph nodes (like the sentinel node in the armpit).  

It is particularly important for the tumor resection margins to be clean in the case of borderline and malignant phyllodes tumors. This means that no tumor cells should be left behind. Phyllodes tumors have a tendency to return, but clean resection margins reduce the risk of recurrence. Once the entire tumor has been removed, a pathologist can examine it to see whether it is benign, borderline, or malignant. As soon as the result is known, a plan for follow-up checks – and radiotherapy if necessary – can be drawn up.  


Radiotherapy is sometimes given if the resection margins of a borderline or malignant phyllodes tumor are not clean, or if the tumor has returned or is malignant. The aim is to reduce the risk of the tumor returning. Radiotherapy does not provide any protection against metastasis, however. It can normally only be used once as part of treatment. 


Chemotherapy is not used to treat phyllodes tumors, as these tumors do not respond to this treatment. It is sometimes used to treat metastases, however


A clear-cut guideline for the treatment of phyllodes tumors is being developed and is expected to be available in 2024.