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N Engl J Med. 2002 Aug 22;347(8):567-75.

Twenty-five-year follow-up of a randomized trial comparing radical mastectomy, total mastectomy, and total mastectomy followed by irradiation.

Author information

  • 1National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5234, USA. bernard.fisher@nsabp.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In women with breast cancer, the role of radical mastectomy, as compared with less extensive surgery, has been a matter of debate. We report 25-year findings of a randomized trial initiated in 1971 to determine whether less extensive surgery with or without radiation therapy was as effective as the Halsted radical mastectomy.

METHODS:

A total of 1079 women with clinically negative axillary nodes underwent radical mastectomy, total mastectomy without axillary dissection but with postoperative irradiation, or total mastectomy plus axillary dissection only if their nodes became positive. A total of 586 women with clinically positive axillary nodes either underwent radical mastectomy or underwent total mastectomy without axillary dissection but with postoperative irradiation. Kaplan-Meier and cumulative-incidence estimates of outcome were obtained.

RESULTS:

No significant differences were observed among the three groups of women with negative nodes or between the two groups of women with positive nodes with respect to disease-free survival, relapse-free survival, distant-disease-free survival, or overall survival. Among women with negative nodes, the hazard ratio for death among those who were treated with total mastectomy and radiation as compared with those who underwent radical mastectomy was 1.08 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.91 to 1.28; P=0.38), and the hazard ratio for death among those who had total mastectomy without radiation as compared with those who underwent radical mastectomy was 1.03 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.87 to 1.23; P=0.72). Among women with positive nodes, the hazard ratio for death among those who underwent total mastectomy and radiation as compared with those who underwent radical mastectomy was 1.06 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.89 to 1.27; P=0.49).

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings validate earlier results showing no advantage from radical mastectomy. Although differences of a few percentage points cannot be excluded, the findings fail to show a significant survival advantage from removing occult positive nodes at the time of initial surgery or from radiation therapy.

Copyright 2002 Massachusetts Medical Society

Comment in

  • Radical and simple mastectomy. [N Engl J Med. 2002]
  • Radical and simple mastectomy. [N Engl J Med. 2002]
  • Radical and simple mastectomy. [N Engl J Med. 2002]
  • Radical and simple mastectomy. [N Engl J Med. 2002]
PMID:
12192016
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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