Extent of axillary surgery in inflammatory breast cancer: a survival analysis of 3500 patients.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is an aggressive variant for which axillary lymph node (LN) dissection following neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) remains standard of care. But with increasingly effective systemic therapy, it is unclear whether more limited axillary surgery may be appropriate in some IBC patients. We sought to examine whether extent of axillary LN surgery was associated with overall survival (OS) for IBC. METHODS: Female breast cancer patients with non-metastatic IBC (cT4d) diagnosed 2010-2014 were identified in the National Cancer Data Base. Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to estimate the association between extent of axillary surgery (≤ 9 vs ≥ 10 LNs removed) and OS after adjusting for covariates, including post-NACT nodal status (ypN0 vs ypN1-3) and radiotherapy receipt (yes/no). RESULTS: 3471 patients were included: 597 (17.2%) had cN0 disease, 1833 (52.8%) had cN1 disease, and 1041 (30%) had cN2-3 disease. 49.9% of cN0 patients were confirmed to be ypN0 on post-NACT surgical pathology. Being ypN0 (vs ypN1-3) was associated with improved adjusted OS for all patients. Radiotherapy was associated with improved adjusted OS for cN1 and cN2-3 patients but not for cN0 patients. Regardless of ypN status, there was a trend towards improved adjusted OS with having ≥ 10 (vs ≤ 9) LNs removed for cN2-3 patients (HR 0.78, 95% CI 0.60-1.01, p = 0.06) but not for cN0 patients (p = 0.83). CONCLUSIONS: A majority of IBC patients in our study presented with node-positive disease, and for those presenting with cN2-3 disease, more extensive axillary surgery is potentially associated with improved survival. For cN0 patients, however, more extensive axillary surgery was not associated with a survival benefit, suggesting an opportunity for more personalized care.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fayanju, OM; Ren, Y; Greenup, RA; Plichta, JK; Rosenberger, LH; Force, J; Suneja, G; Devi, GR; King, TA; Nakhlis, F; Hyslop, T; Hwang, ES

Published Date

  • February 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 180 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 207 - 217

PubMed ID

  • 31960171

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7050768

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-7217

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10549-020-05529-1


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands