Axillary treatment of patients with breast cancer and micrometastatic disease in the sentinel lymph node Our experience

Andrea Morlino, Giuseppe La Torre, Giuseppe Patitucci, Aldo Cammarota

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AIM: Since the introduction of the sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in patients with breast cancer, micrometastases are detected frequently in the sln.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between July 2005 and June 2016, 1244 patients were submitted to surgery for breast cancer. 431 patients cT1-2 N0 underwent to sentinel lymph node (SLN) and micrometastases were found in 68 of 431 screen-detected patients. Nearly all patients with both micro and macrometastases had axillary lymph node dissection (ALND).

RESULTS: The SLN was negative in 69% of patients (296 of 431), 121 patients (28%) instead turned positive for lymph node metastases and in 14 patients (3%) were identified isolated tumor cells (ITC). SLN micrometastases were detected in 15,7% of patients (68 of 431). All patients with micrometastases underwent a completion ALND. In 85% of cases, therefore, the sentinel node with micrometastases was the only site of nodal disease. Neither loco-regional recurrences or distant metastases occurred in any of the Patients with sln micrometastases.

DISCUSSION: There is considerable interest in foregoing axillary dissection (AD) when the sentinel node (SN) is positive in early breast cancer, particularly when axillary involvement is minimal (micrometastases or isolated tumor cells). Several trials are addressing the problem. In breast cancer patients survival is not affected by the presence of micrometastatic lymph node involvement.

CONCLUSION: In our experience we always underwent to ALND all patients with micrometastases. In the light of the results we observed our attitude no longer provides for the axillary lymphadenectomy.

KEY WORDS: Axillary dissection ,Breast cancer, Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-364
Number of pages5
JournalAnnali Italiani di Chirurgia
Publication statusPublished - 2017



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