Higher risk tumor features are not associated with higher nodal stage in patients with estrogen receptor-positive, node-positive breast cancer.
INTRODUCTION: Studies support omission of axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) for patients with sentinel node-positive disease, with ALND recommended for patients who present with clinically positive nodes. Here, we evaluate patient and tumor characteristics and pathologic nodal stage of patients with estrogen receptor-positive (ER +) breast cancer who undergo ALND to determine if differences exist based on nodal presentation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Retrospective chart review from 2010 to 2019 defined three groups of patients with ER + breast cancer who underwent ALND for positive nodes: SLN + (positive node identified at SLN biopsy), cNUS (abnormal preoperative US and biopsy), and cNpalp (palpable adenopathy). Patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy or presented with axillary recurrence were excluded. RESULTS: Of 191 patients, 94 were SLN + , 40 were cNUS, and 57 were cNpalp. Patients with SLN + compared with cNpalp were younger (56 vs 64 years, p < 0.01), more often pre-menopausal (41% vs 14%, p < 0.01), and White (65% vs 39%, p = 0.01) with more tumors that were low-grade (36% vs 8%, p < 0.01). Rates of PR + (p = 0.16), levels of Ki67 expression (p = 0.07) and LVI (p = 0.06) did not differ significantly among groups. Of patients with SLN + disease, 64% had pN1 disease compared to 38% of cNUS (p = 0.1) and 40% of cNpalp (p = 0.01). On univariable analysis, tumor size (p = 0.01) and histology (p = 0.04) were significantly associated with pN1 disease, with size remaining an independent predictor on multivariable analysis (p = 0.02). CONCLUSION: Historically, higher risk features have been attributed to patients with clinically positive nodes precluding omission of ALND, but when restricting evaluation to patients with ER + breast cancer, only tumor size is associated with higher nodal stage.
Ye, L; Rünger, D; Angarita, SA; Hadaya, J; Baker, JL; Lee, MK; Thompson, CK; Attai, DJ; DiNome, ML
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