Omission of Axillary Lymph Node Dissection is Associated with Inferior Survival in Breast Cancer Patients with Residual N1 Nodal Disease Following Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy.
Annals of Surgical Oncology
BACKGROUND: The appropriateness of substituting sentinel lymph node dissection (SLND) and regional nodal irradiation (RNI) for axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in patients with residual lymph node (LN) disease following neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) is unknown. We used the National Cancer Database (NCDB) to compare survival following SLND and ALND in breast cancer patients with residual LN disease.
METHODS: We analyzed NCDB patients, treated between 2006 and 2014, with cT1-3, cN1, cM0 breast cancer and residual disease in 1-3 axillary LNs (ypN1) following NAC. Patients were grouped into those who received SLND (defined as removal of ≤ 4 LNs) and RNI, or ALND and RNI. Patients were matched for all patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics.
RESULTS: We identified 1313 eligible patients in the ALND group and 304 patients in the SLND group. For the matched cohorts, SLND was associated with significantly lower survival in both univariate and doubly robust multivariable analyses (MVA) (HR 1.7, 95% CI 1.3-2.2, P < 0.001 for MVA), with estimated 5-year OS of 71%, compared with 77% in the ALND group (P = 0.01). Exploratory subgroup analyses showed that SLND was comparable with ALND in patients with luminal A or B tumors with a single metastatic LN (HR 1.03, 95% CI 0.59-1.8, (P = 0.91).
CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis suggests that, while an ALND may not be needed for patients with limited residual nodal burden and biologically favorable tumors, SLND should not be routinely substituted for ALND in patients with ypN1 disease following NAC until its efficacy is confirmed by prospective trials.
Almahariq MF, Levitin R, Quinn TJ, Chen PY, Dekhne N, Kiran S, Desai A, Benitez P, Jawad MS, Gustafson GS, Dilworth JT. Omission of Axillary Lymph Node Dissection is Associated with Inferior Survival in Breast Cancer Patients with Residual N1 Nodal Disease Following Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy. Ann Surg Oncol. 2021 Feb;28(2):930-940. doi: 10.1245/s10434-020-08928-2. Epub 2020 Jul 25. PMID: 32712895.