Protocol for a mixed methods study to inform the feasibility of undertaking a large-scale multicentre study comparing the clinical and patient-reported outcomes of oncoplastic breast conservation as an alternative to mastectomy with or without immediate breast reconstruction in women unsuitable for standard breast conserving surgery (The ANTHEM feasibility study)

Charlotte F Davies*, Christopher Holcombe, University coventry, Nottingham Institute, William Hollingworth, Carmel M Conefrey, Nicola J Mills, Paul White, Charles Comins, Nottingham Institute, Independent patients, Shelley Potter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Introduction: Approximately 40% of the 55,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK undergo mastectomy because they are considered unsuitable for standard breast conserving surgery (BCS) due to tumour size or multiple tumour foci. Mastectomy can significantly impact women’s quality of life and only 1 in 4 women currently undergo immediate breast reconstruction (IBR).
Level 2 oncoplastic breast conserving surgery (OPBCS) that combine removing the cancer with a range of plastic surgical volume replacement (e.g. local perforator flaps) and volume displacement techniques (e.g. therapeutic mammaplasty) that can extend the role of BCS and may allow some women not suitable for standard BCS to avoid mastectomy. High-quality research to determine whether OPBCS offers a safe and effective alternative to mastectomy +/- IBR is currently lacking. Preliminary work is needed to ensure a future large-scale study is feasible, well-designed and addresses questions important to patients and the NHS.
Methods and analysis: Mixed methods will be used to inform feasibility and design of a future large-scale study comparing the clinical and cost-effectiveness of OPBCS and mastectomy +/- IBR. It will have four parts:
1. A national practice questionnaire to determine current practice and provision of oncoplastic breast and reconstructive surgery in the UK
2. A pilot multicentre prospective cohort study to explore the proportion of patients choosing OPBCS vs. mastectomy; the proportion in whom OPBCS is successful and clinical and patient-reported outcomes of different techniques at 3 and 12-months post-surgery.
3. A qualitative interview study to explore patients’ attitudes to different procedures; rationale for decision-making and perceptions of outcomes.
4. Design of the future study
All centres offering OPBCS and mastectomy in the UK will be invited to participate. Recruitment is planned to commence winter 2020 and continue for 12 months.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Mar 2021

Cite this