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Eur J Cancer. 2009 May;45(8):1381-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2008.11.041. Epub 2009 Jan 6.

Axillary metastases in breast cancer patients with negative sentinel nodes: a follow-up of 3548 cases.

Author information

1
Scientific Director European Institute of Oncology, Via G. Ripamonti 435, I-20141 Milan, Italy.

Abstract

PREMISES: Sentinel node biopsy (SNB) in patients with breast carcinoma accurately predicts the axillary node status. However, in some 4-7% of patients with negative sentinel nodes, the remaining axillary nodes harbour cancer cells.

OBJECTIVE:

Our purpose was the long-term observation of a large number of patients who did not receive axillary dissection after a negative sentinel node biopsy, in order to evaluate the incidence of overt axillary metastases.

METHODS:

Patients (3548) treated from 1996 to 2004, with negative sentinel nodes not submitted to axillary dissection, were followed up to 11 years with a median follow-up of 48 months.

RESULTS:

Three hundred and sixteen unfavourable events occurred among the 3548 patients, 196 of which (5.5%) related to primary breast carcinoma. Thirty one cases of overt axillary metastases were found (0.9%): they received total axillary dissection and 27 of them are at present alive and well. The 5-year overall survival rate of the whole series was 98%.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients with negative sentinel node biopsy not submitted to axillary dissection show, at follow-up, a rate of overt axillary metastases lower than expected.

PMID:
19128957
DOI:
10.1016/j.ejca.2008.11.041
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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