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Limited lymph node removal for certain breast cancer does not appear to result in poorer survival
Date:2/8/2011

to ALND underwent dissection of 10 or more nodes. Of 891 patients, 445 were randomly assigned to the ALND group and 446 to the SLND-alone group.

As expected, there was a difference between ALND and SLND-alone treatment groups in total number of removed lymph nodes and total number of tumor-involved nodes; the median (midpoint) total number of nodes removed was 17 in the ALND group and 2 in the SLND-alone group. At a median follow-up of 6.3 years, there were 94 deaths (SLND-alone group, 42; ALND group, 52). The use of SLND alone compared with ALND did not appear to result in statistically inferior survival, with the 5-year over all survival rates being 92.5 percent in the SLND-alone group and 91.8 percent in the ALND group. Disease-free survival did not differ significantly between treatment groups, with 5-year disease-free survival being 83.9 percent for the SLND-alone group and 82.2 percent for the ALND group.

The rate of wound infections, axillary seromas, and paresthesias (prickly, tingling sensations) among patients in the trial was higher for the ALND group than for the SLND-alone group (70 percent vs. 25 percent).

The authors note that these results suggest that breast cancer patients, such as those in this study, do not benefit from the addition of ALND in terms of local control, disease-free survival, or overall survival, and that ALND may no longer be justified for certain patients. "Implementation of this practice change would improve clinical outcomes in thousands of women each year by reducing the complications associated with ALND and improving quality of life with no diminution in survival."


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Contact: Greg Harrison
gregory.harrison@stjohns.org
310-829-8010
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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