Patterns of relapse and survival in operable breast carcinoma with positive and negative axillary nodes

P. Valagussa, G. Bonadonna, U. Veronesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The medical records of 716 consecutive patients with infiltrating mammary carcinoma and treated during a 4-year period (January 1964-January 1968) were reviewed. Patients were randomized between conventional radical or extended radical mastectomy. No postoperative radiotherapy or other specific treatments were given without documented evidence of recurrence. The intent of this retrospective analysis was to identify, on a clinical basis, the high-risk groups that could be candidates for systemic adjuvant treatment. The most reliable prognostic discriminant was found to be histological status of axillary lymph nodes. The 10-year relapse rate for patiens with negative axillary nodes (N-) was 27.9% compared to 75.5% for patients with positive axillary nodes (N+). The corresponding 10-year survival rates were 81.9% and 39.6%, respectively. The number of involved nodes was also of particular prognostic importance (relapse rates at 10 years: 1 to 3 nodes, 66.5%; more than 3 nodes, 83.6%; survival rates: 53.7% and 25.6%, respectively). Other clinical variables (location of primary tumor and menopausal status) failed to significantly affect the results of mastectomy, except for the extent of primary tumor in N+ patients. In this subgroup, relapse and survival rates were directly proportional to tumor size. In both groups, the highest incidence of recurrence was detected in distant organs and tissues, an it progressively increased with time. In contrast, 77.3% of all local-regional recurrences were documented during the first three years from radical surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-258
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Patterns of relapse and survival in operable breast carcinoma with positive and negative axillary nodes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this