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Am J Clin Pathol. 1976 Jan;65(1):21-30.

Pathologic findings from the national surgical adjuvant breast project (protocol no. 4). II. The significance of regional node histology other than sinus histiocytosis in invasive mammary cancer.


The morphologic appearances of regional lymph nodes in radical mastectomy specimens obtained from 303 women entered into a prospective study of invasive breast cancer were categorized into patterns that have been considered to reflect immunologic function. An attempt was made to correlate these with 31 other histological and 8 clinical features, including short-term treatment failure (3 months to 4 years, average 24 months). No significant relationship to the latter was encountered. However, a lymphocyte predominance pattern was significantly associated with a stellate tumor border, absent cell reaction within the dominant tumor, absent sinus histocytosis of lymph nodes, combination tumor types, and a patient age of 55 years or more. A similar relationship between age of patient and sinus histiocytosis was found with the germinal center predominance pattern. In addition, this histologic appearance was associated with circumscribed tumors, severe cell reaction, and the infiltrating ductal carcinoma NOS and medullary types. Nodes with an unstimulated appearance were also found to be related to an absent cell reaction but marked sinus histiocytosis and a patient age of 45-54 years. Possible reasons for the differences between these findings and those of others relating prognostic value to such assessment of nodal histology is discussed, as are the findings of studies relevant to the identity of immunologic function with the morphologic appearance of nodal structure. The findings from this study fail to indicate any value of such nodal assessments as prognostic discriminants for breast cancer. Although longer periods of observation might alter this conclusion, such an event is regarded as unlikely.

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