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Am J Surg. 2013 May;205(5):581-4; discussion 584. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2013.02.001.

Routine completion axillary lymph node dissection for positive sentinel nodes in patients undergoing mastectomy is not associated with improved local control.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The current practice of completion axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) for patients with a positive sentinel lymph node (SLN) is being questioned. This led us to examine the outcomes of patients with positive SLNs undergoing mastectomy who underwent ALND compared with those who did not.

METHODS:

A retrospective review of cancer registry data identified 561 women with stages 1 to 3 breast cancer with positive SLNs who underwent mastectomy between 2000 and 2010. Four hundred twenty-six women underwent formal ALND and 135 were managed expectantly. Recurrence-free survival was defined as no locoregional or distant metastases.

RESULTS:

Mean time to recurrence was 29.9 months. Mean follow-up for patients without recurrence was 40.3 months. Survival curves showed no significant difference in recurrence-free survival between the 2 groups (P = .23).

CONCLUSIONS:

In our experience, there is no significant difference in recurrence-free survival in patients with positive SLNs undergoing mastectomy when completion ALND was not performed, suggesting that a closer look at the indications for ALND in early breast cancer be further explored.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
23592166
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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